“I am just obsessed by the beauty of botanical drawings,” says Kenji Toma, describing his new book, The Most Beautiful Flowers. It’s a homage to Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s celebrated book of watercolours, Choix des plus belles fleurs [The most beautiful flowers], which was first published in France back in 1827 – long before colour photography was available. “His images were illustrated with the purpose of replicating the botanic subject as close to reality as possible,” says Toma. “I’m more interested in doing the exact opposite with photography.” His series shows hyperreal, unrealistically perfect images of flowers, each shot with the same lens, angle, and lighting, and delicately arranged with pins and armature wire. Going one step further than nature, they put a contemporary spin on the concept of the botanical encyclopaedia.
Based in Lagos, Nigeria, A Whitespace Creative Agency is in the business of “creating narratives for a new vision of contemporary Africa”. It was set up in 2014 by Papa Omotayo after he “saw the need for creatives to have a platform and organisation that aimed to push new ideas being developed by a new generation of visual artists,” says Omotayo. “We sought to bring young dynamic creatives and pair them with local and international brands and organisations,” he continues, “whilst also developing personal projects and programmes that focused on art and culture as a currency and catalyst for change within the city of Lagos.” AWCA works with local and international brands and NGOs, creating lookbooks, campaigns, editorials, documentaries and films; it also works on projects presenting the cream of Lagos’ talent overseas. AWCA’s collaboration with Amaka Osakwe of Maki Oh won Best New Director at the Fashion Film Festival in Milan in 2016, for example; in 2016 AWCA took up a ten-day residency in London, showcasing some of its creatives, giving photographer Kadara Enyeasi a …
There is something frantic about David Brandon Geeting’s photography. In his latest collection, Amusement Park, the Greenpoint, Brooklyn-based artist creates a mood that is exhilarating and vibrant, but also verging on collapse, as though its tether could snap at any moment. Where his 2015 book, Infinite Power, was energetic and kinetic, with Amusement Park he’s aiming for “information overload”. “I’m not afraid of making people confused or dizzy,” he says. “I wanted it to be an onslaught of colours and forms and things that don’t make sense.”
Just three months after blacklisting the photographer Terry Richardson amid allegations of sexual misconduct with models, Condé Nast has dropped two more high-profile contributors after similar claims – Mario Testino and Bruce Weber. Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and editor in chief of Vogue, has published a personal statement on 13 January in which she writes that: “Even as we stand with victims of abuse and misconduct, we must also hold a mirror up to ourselves—and ask if we are doing our utmost to protect those we work with so that unacceptable conduct never happens on our watch. Sometimes that means addressing the fact that such behavior can occur close to home. Today, allegations have been made against Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, stories that have been hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront. Both are personal friends of mine who have made extraordinary contributions to Vogue and many other titles at Condé Nast over the years, and both have issued objections or denials to what has emerged. I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Condé Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future.”
“The first time my American agent came here, she said ‘I can’t believe you do all these pictures in this little room’,” laughs Paolo Roversi as he looks around the modest space he’s used as his studio for more than three decades. The Italian remains one of the world’s most sought-after fashion photographers, having forged his reputation during the mid-1980s shooting inspired catalogues for designers such as Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto, in an age when creatives were given unparalleled freedom of expression. Yet his studio is just a room in an unremarkable building in a nondescript arrondissement of southern Paris, furnished with battered chairs and old blankets. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
Neither Rick Pushinsky nor his father, Steven Morris, are chefs. Pushinsky is a professional photographer with 10 years experience doing editorial shoots for the likes of The Sunday Times Style, Vogue and the FT. His father is an optician. But that didn’t stop them from putting together a series of 21 recipe cards – a three-course meal for every day of the week – inspired by the family’s Ashkenazi heritage, adapted dishes from dining in foreign restaurants, and Morris’ “60 years of making a mess in the kitchen”. Pushinsky’s bright and playful photography pairs up with his fathers’ recipes and stories, and he’s also added in relevant family photographs. A flaming crêpe falls before a bright yellow backdrop to accompany a recipe for Crêpes Suzette, for example; a sliver of sea bass draped delicately over a towering structure of fennel represents, well, Sea Bass on Fennel. The more artistic representations are the ones that stand out, and they were also the most tricky to set up.
If you type “Paul Outerbridge” into a Google image search it doesn’t take long before work by other photographers turns up – images by contemporaries, such as Edward Weston, but also by successive generations of photographers who’ve been inspired by his work. The feminist Jo Ann Callis explicitly referenced Outerbridge’s nudes in her 1970s work, for example; in contemporary photography, the new wave of still life photography championed by image-makers such as Bobby Doherty and Grant Cornett references his work, especially his lurid use of colour. Outerbridge’s striking photography comes in and out of fashion, as it did in his own lifetime, but, nearly 100 years on, somehow still retains a contemporary edge.
Erwin Blumenfeld proved himself to be one of photography’s greatest pioneers during his 35-year-long career, breaking new ground in formal experimentation, developing innovative concepts through his fashion shoots, and enjoying unprecedented commercial success as a result. And yet the division of his archive – some 30,000 negatives and 8,000 prints distributed among his family after his death in 1969 – has left Blumenfeld’s impressive oeuvre somewhat underappreciated in the years since. Erwin Blumenfeld: From Dada to Vogue, is the most comprehensive retrospective of his work for nearly 20 years, is aiming to change all that. Curator Lou Proud collaborated with Yorick Blumenfeld, one of the photographer’s three children, to create an overview of his extensive archive that comprises 85 works spanning portraiture, collages, nudes and fashion photography. The exhibition, at Osborne Samuel gallery in London, is subdivided in chronological order according to his own biography: Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and New York. Blumenfeld’s entry into photography was somewhat serendipitous: in the early 1930s, while running a leather shop in Amsterdam, he uncovered a fully equipped darkroom behind a boarded-up …