All posts filed under: Fine Art

The angels of lot (Gli angeli di lot), 2008. From Sodom and Gomorrah © Alessandro Bavari

Alessandro Bavari – in the belly of the beast

There are many disparate moments in Alessandro Bavari’s childhood that inform the artist he is today – watching tadpoles hatch, the first time he walked into a Gothic church in Burgundy, losing grip of a balloon and seeing it bob away, meeting its fate against a rose bush. He says these impressions are so profound – a sensation, a feeling of wonder, a sound – they occasionally crop up in his work. Bavari uses mixed-media techniques to create a unique body of work that incorporates both photography and film. He often draws on literary influences, offering his own interpretation using model sets, organic objects, photography and digital manipulation. The results are often macabre, and sometimes irreverent. His ongoing series, Sodom and Gomorrah, is one such unique fusion of media. “Sodom and Gomorrah was first conceived 15 years ago. I was inspired by Invisible Cities, a novel by Italo Calvino, written and published in the 1970s, but which he cultivated over many years through travel notes and reflections, and organised by themes – the five senses, …

2015-08-11T14:29:17+00:00

A still-life love-letter to an East London lost to money

Dalston’s Ridley Road Market is an East London institution, but to a newcomer it can feel like an overwhelming assault of sights, sounds and smells. At once thrillingly vibrant yet strangely anachronistic, the market is the sort of place where you’re as likely to pick up a goat’s head or a Giant African land snail as you are hair extensions or an international phone card. It has been a focal point for the area’s diverse demographic since the 1880s, and apparently inspired the fictional market in BBC1’s Eastenders. Yet in recent years gentrification has laid claim to much of the surrounding area, threatening the delicate balance of this microcosm of East London life. That this complex and captivating social nexus might be lost for future generations has been one of the main motivations for photographer and local resident Lorenzo Vitturi, putting his successful advertising career on hold for a year in order to explore it more thoroughly. “I wanted to do a project before gentrification completely transformed the area,” he explains. “Even while working in advertising, …

2015-07-21T12:05:50+00:00

From 1800 Millimètre © Emi Anrakuji

Emi Anrakuji – ‘1800 millimetres. It’s the size of my bed’

The elusive Emi Anrakuji. Her work seems to have exploded onto the photography scene in early 2000, attracting the attention of Daido Moriyama in 2004. “He was very much impressed,” says Emi, whose body of work is a series of self-portraits in which she often focuses on the most intimate details of her anatomy while simultaneously concealing her identity. It’s this contradiction that obfuscates the viewer. Legs splayed, crouched on a bed on all fours, a finger inserted into her vagina – the self-portraits in 1800 Millimètre, Emi’s latest body of work, “are not erotic at all,” she says. “1800 millimetres is just the size of my bed.” A bed to which she was confined, which came to represent her world – the very world from where her work originated. “It’s work that came out of my sickbed.” In 1800 Millimètre, Anrakuji poses nude, in solitude, in close shadowy settings – the confines of her bedroom staged for the gaze of a lens. She describes herself as “an alchemist of images”, blurring the contrived and the authentic …

2015-07-17T12:48:37+00:00

From Denudate 2015 © Neola Loretta McDavid

The female derobed: Neola McDavid’s untainted nudes

“Trust is very important when you ask someone to take their clothes off so you can photograph them nude,” says Neola Loretta McDavid, who will soon graduate from the University of Roehampton with a BA Honours in Photography. “Your subjects need to have confidence in you as a photographer, and they need to feel comfortable in themselves.” McDavid’s series of nude portraits, Denudate 2015, exudes strength – stripped back, it presents women in a state of undress, stoic in their own personal space, the only props being the intimate objects in their homes. Her series, like the meaning of the title itself, bares all – it strips women of the labels imposed upon them by society and returns them to their natural state, as “supreme beings” – equal to men, neither subordinate nor superior. “The women in my portraits signify empowerment. They are not obstructed by the mores of society or media in the way that influences how women are portrayed today. The women aren’t sexualised, nor are their poses meant to be suggestive. I’m not using the female …

2015-06-25T16:30:44+00:00

Figure Eight, Serra Pelada, Brazil. 1986.

Sebastião Salgado: “I had travelled to the dawn of time.”

Sebastião Salgado has created some of the twentieth century’s most iconic photography. From war zones to famine, genocide to exodus, Salgado has documented many of the world’s major events of the last 40 years in crisp black-and-white pictures. He’s also won countless prizes, including being named last week as a Master of Photography at Photo London this weekend. Now, in homage to the great photographer, the German filmmaker Wim Wenders and Salgado’s Paris-based son Juliano Salgado have collaborated on a documentary about the photographer’s life and work. The film, The Salt of the Earth, has already won a host of accolades, including an Oscar nomination, and will be released this July. In the film, Sebastião discusses some of his most famous photographs. When talking of the captivating images of 50,000 gold-grubbers scaling ladders like ants into an the Serra Pelada mine in Brazil, he says: “Every hair on my body stood on edge. The Pyramids, the history of mankind unfolded. I had travelled to the dawn of time.” He discusses his hellish images of burning oilrigs in Kuwait …

2015-05-27T12:34:52+00:00

Augustin Rebetez: Method man

“What is a photographer today?” asks Stefano Stoll, director of the biennial Images: Festival des Arts Visuels de Vevey. “There are plenty of shows and museums that ask this question. Now everybody has a smartphone and is a photographer – compare that to the 1960s when only a few people had a camera and there was no digital. It’s a very different world.” His festival tests the boundaries of this world by showing artists who push photography into fantasy and fiction; one of the best examples this year is Augustin Rebetez, who beat off 800 competitors in 2013 to win the prestigious Vevey International Prize. Awarded 40,000 Swiss Francs and a brief to create new work for the festival, he’s come up with a wild installation that combines illustration, performance, music and painting. “Augustin is not the answer, but he is part of the question,” says Stoll. “He’s looking for other ways of self-expression using photography, mixing it with drawing, installation and performance. What’s interesting for us is we’re showing an artist who is asking …

2015-05-20T12:42:31+00:00

Happy museum visitor gets a shock from static generator, 2011. Silver gelatin print (unknown photographer) presented in a handmade sandstone frame enamelled blue. From the series Les Belles Images © Thomas Mailaender.

Thomas Mailaender’s weird and wonderful world

“Thomas Mailaender’s forum and sphere of operations is less the art world than the rowdier public domain where events can easily run out of control,” writes Ian Jeffrey, the respected photography critic. That rowdy sense of anarchy and fun is clearly on show in the French artist’s current exhibition at Roman Road, which is punningly titled Solo Chaud. With liberal use of sheets of white plastic, Mailaender has literally transformed the gallery into a white cube, and populated it with artwork culled from various recent projects – a print on plasterboard, showing a man grabbing and photographing a bird, is taken from his Cyanotypes series; humorous press prints ‘framed’ in roughly-shaped, brightly-coloured clay come from his Les Belles Images collection; large, roughly cut boards showing amateur snaps of everything from hapless plastic surgery fans to questionable bikini lines are relics from the Chicken Museum installation he created at Rencontres d’Arles in 2011. Behind the gallery, in owner Marisa Bellani’s home, more work is on display – lumpen vases, a more traditional large-scale print, and what look like family …

2015-05-05T14:41:55+00:00

Photo-collage with Two Segments at Richard Neutra's Silver Lake house in Los Angeles 1939 © Barbara Hepworth, The Hepworth Photograph Collection

Barbara Hepworth’s never seen before photographs go on display in London

This June, Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World – the first major retrospective of the work of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth, as well as her never-before-seen photographs, will open at the Tate Britain. The set of photographs reveal the importance of photography to Hepworth, and how she used it to shape public opinion of her work. As Sophie Bowness, Hepworth’s granddaughter and co-curator of the Tate show explains: “Hepworth had a life-long appreciation of the importance of photography in the recording and reception of her work.” The Hungarian Constructivist artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy is thought to have taught Hepworth how to use her first camera – a Zeiss Ikon in 1933. The two became friends when Moholy-Nagy moved to London to escape Nazism, and his modernist ideas influenced her greatly. It was after a meeting with the artist on his first trip to London that Hepworth produced her first Self-Photogram (1932 – 33), two self-portraits depicting her fuzzy profile surrounded by a halo of hair. A photogram is an image made by placing objects directly onto photosensitive paper and exposing them …

2015-05-12T13:15:08+00:00

Pre -  The Entropy Pendulum archive image © Clare Strand

Five minutes with…Clare Strand

From photographs inspired by crime scenes to pseudo-scientific experiments, Clare Strand has always marched to the beat of her own drum – and her latest exhibition, Getting Better and Worse at the Same Time, is no exception. Featuring The Happenstance Generator (a machine that blows around images from her research projects) and The Entropy Pendulum (a moving arm that swings backwards and forwards over one of her prints), it’s a quirky, animated take on photography and kinesis that, like her previous projects, is somehow held together by Strand’s idiosyncratic, retro-futuristic aesthetic. BJP took five minutes with the artist to find out more. BJP: Is the work in this exhibition all new, apart from The Happenstance Generator? Clare Strand: It’s all pretty much new – there are few pieces that have been shown but never in the context of a cohesive show. BJP: Did you make it all for the show? Or have you just had a particularly fruitful time of it recently? CS: Yes, most the works have been made for this show. I like working …

2015-05-05T10:56:09+00:00

May2015

BJP #7835: Nude Animal Cigar

The May issue of British Journal of Photography, on sale now, is dedicated to photographers who don’t quite ‘fit in’. Our main feature is Michael Grieve’s interview with Nick Waplington, the iconic British photographer, as he exhibits his photography alongside Alexander McQueen at Tate Britain. For Waplington, the sense of being an outsider runs throughout his work, as does the idea of family. Originally from middle-class Surrey, he made his name with a series of photographs focusing on life on the Nottingham housing estate (where his grandfather had been born and still lived), capturing in lurid colour the ‘pre-Ikea’ interior worlds of two unemployed families 10 years into the Thatcher regime. The resulting photobook, Living Room, brought Waplington to international attention in 1991. And although it was talked about in the same breath as some of his older contemporaries loosely affiliated with the new wave of British documentary at the time, Waplington reflects on his approach differently. “I was inspired by the colour work of Paul Graham, Martin Parr and Tom Woods; I liked their aesthetic, though not necessarily …

2015-05-28T15:54:53+00:00

BJP Staff