Born in Amsterdam in 1983, Isabella Rozendaal has been photographing animals since her student days at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. Her book Animalia Amsterdam: Pet Portraits features over 100 images, and her new book and exhibition, Isabella Hunts: Photographing Hunting Cultures, shows images of hunters and prey from around the world shot over the last 12 years.
Focusing in on the Nukini people in the Brazilian Amazon (for whom hunting is as mundane as going to the supermarket), to European hunting rites (traditions which are a product of old aristocratic rituals), to American enthusiasts (shaped by the Romantic, pioneer wilderness ideal but supported by a vast commercial hunting industry), her images seek to question our concept of nature and our place in the food chain.
To look through Todd Hido’s lens is to view the world darkly. The San Francisco-based photographer’s entire oeuvre of compelling visual narratives is shrouded in inky obscurity, and in this regard, his latest work is no exception. The difference is that for the first time he has departed from his usual territory of suburban landscape and its relation to his own troubled childhood. Instead Bright Black World results from extensive travels abroad, and is steeped in a deep sense of pessimism about the future from the perspective of the present, attempting to “photograph the darkness that I see coming”.
There is something universally foreboding and immense happening here; work that captures nature on an awesome scale. And yet it can be read as a metaphorical measure of our individual existential lives, a dark poem alluding to our preconditioned mortality. His landscapes are magnificent in their brooding seduction, inspired by Norse mythology and the concept of Fimbulvetr – the long, harsh winter that precedes the end of Earth. Hido travelled to places he’d never visited before to capture these spectacles of natural devastation and melancholy, including the chilly vistas of the Norwegian tundra.