Like looking into the private thoughts of a diary, photographer Adeline Mai creates narratives of intimacy, portraying poetic scenes of human interaction. In her body of work, she creates ethereal images of profound closeness between her subjects. With titles like J’ai Embrassé L’Aube D’Été, French for I Embraced the Summer Dawn, Weightlessness, and Dirty Weekend, the names of each series are just as lyrical as the photographs itself. The Parisian artist captures stunning images of contorting bodies, displaying breathtaking views of the human body. In her series I Embraced the Summer Dawn, each photograph contains a stark emptiness except for the two, nude figures beautifully entwined as if they are attempting to become one body. This same sense of intimacy is embodied in her series Dirty Weekend. Only instead of gracefully posed, flawless bodies, we are now given a view of a more natural nudity, out in the woods and in more candid positions. Mai not only captures a playful kind of nakedness, but a shared closeness between clothed subjects as well. She is a master at capturing tender moments between her subjects and laying them out for all to see.
Mai having the ability to brilliantly capture light on her subjects, her series Weightlessness includes floating figures with soft, warm light consuming their surroundings. These figures appear to be floating, but they are actually underwater! The photographer has turned this normally cool-colored environment into a glow of yellows, reds, and oranges. Adeline Mai’s entrancing photography pulls you in to its intimate scenes of magnificent nudes being swallowed up by a sea of color or by human embrace.
Multimedia artist Alex Kiessling works with different ideas of how the future can be. He combines the ideas of fine art and high technology. He has used robots as painting assistants and exhibited it through a live stream to a worldwide internet-based audience. This series of paintings give the impression that they were made with digital help. Their colorful layers are overlapped just like a screen print gone wrong, but of course this is intentional. But despite appearances, Kiessling has achieved this striking effect by painting acrylic on canvas – by hand.
The series, titled Shift, ties in with his larger ideas of augmented reality, simulation, hybrids, and the existence between reality and dream. He explains a bit more:
In the static scenes of my paintings, the protagonists remain mostly resident between the glaring colorfulness of virtual realities and darkness, which is inherent in most of our dream sequences and memories. Both of these worlds are paramount due to their systematic character, which is connected to the simulative, and are projection surfaces of the human psyche. (Source)
His paintings have the affect of dreaming – you feel like what you are seeing isn’t really right, and maybe you should look a little harder. He has a beautiful way of describing his work:
In my work I concentrate on dreams and all kinds of dreamlike structures and explore its borders and bridges to reality. I try to visualize the “no men`s land” between the absurdity in our existence and the concrete concerns that come with our human mind or spirit. I am fascinated by the interacting vibrations between virtual reality, dreams and the basic common ground of our world`s so called reality. (Source)
Kiessling is interested in fragmented identities, and the fact that most of us now-a-days live our lives out in many different spheres or realities – in the physical as well as the digital. His painting series Shift is just another visual exploration of the theme that is becoming more and more relevant to this generation. (Via SuperSonic Art)
Ryo Yoshii is a Japanese artist who produces beautiful and evocative watercolor portraits. With an impressive control of the medium, Yoshii is able to capture the minute details of the face — such as the lines around and light within the eyes — while also introducing a surrealist blur: hair melts into the paper, tears streak and divide the body, animal faces are fractured over top of human ones. In a haze of dreamlike pastels, the portraits express both external character and internal life, unveiling moments of deep introspection.
Brimming with depth and sensitivity, Yoshii’s work can be read as metaphorical explorations of inner emotional worlds. Despite the stoic faces, which steadily meet the viewer’s gaze, there are signs of fluidity and instability within. The unpredictability of the watercolor medium lends perfectly to this depiction of inner turmoil and intensity, as the colors — much like our emotions — bleed invisibly from the body into the surrounding environment. As expressed in the beautiful blend of colors, no emotion exists in singularity in Yoshii’s work; instead, everything fuses together in a spectrum of experiences.
Romy Maxime has been experimenting with an interesting medium of late – Infrared film (typically used in military surveillance). Her series Lucid Dreaming is a soft, romantic, hazy collection of portraits of musicians based in Berlin. She uses the unusual candy colored tones of the film to evoke a strange surrealism from her subjects and their surroundings. Her images look like dramatic fairy-tales, or stills from some sort of film noir. Maxime talks about those influences on her:
This ongoing personal project was born out of nostalgia, a love for classic art films and the style and colors of photographs from the 1960s. (Source)
Growing up between Zurich, Cape Town and Cannes (she now calls Berlin home), Maxime translates her gypsy tendencies and ease with nature and quietness onto film. Working mostly in fashion photography, and portraiture, Maxime loves to create fantastical images that are like an exaggerated reality. She talks about her favorite parts of fashion photography:
It’s totally unrealistic! It’s the fantasy genre of photography – mostly an illusion with every excuse to include beautiful things. I do try to create some sort of story when I shoot fashion otherwise the clothes remain just beautifully cut textiles on a model. (Source)
She also talks about the effect yoga has had on her and her work – the calmness, serenity, and quiet that is all practiced in yoga gives her the focus she needs to capture the right mood in her shots. Read a full interview with her here on the International Foundation for Women Artists Blog. And be sure to see more of her many beautiful images on her Tumblr page and her Facebook page.
René Benjowski is a Berlin-based self-taught photographer who finds beauty, horror, and sensuality in dark, private rooms. Delving into the worlds of surrealism and erotic portraiture, Benjowski’s quiet, hazy, and provocative work skillfully traverses the line between passionate intensity and a reverence for the strength and symmetry of the human figure. The images are like intangible visions of a dream: in silent, dusty corners with bare, iron bed frames, bodies twist with a sensual — almost demonic — rapture. Colliding intimacy with images of death, skulls are clutched in hands and worms emerge from open mouths. The fetish element is visible: bodies embraced in ropes engage in silent power dynamics with an unseen participant, playing chess or attempting to reach a hanging book.
Contortion and mystery are important elements in Benjowski’s beautifully macabre works. Deviating far from conventional portraiture, these images convey a desire to experiment with strange angles and uncanny positions: knees twist, backs arch, figures levitate. The black-and-white shading adds an extra element of bleakness to the beautiful physicality of the twisted forms, producing bold, intimate contrasts between shadows and illuminated skin. In addition to the raw energy brimming within each surreal photograph, there is also a truthful power: not only do the images explore the subversive, alternative edges of desire and eroticism, but they leak with a physical honesty and agency, exploring the capacities of the body as it bravely endures unseen, emotional forces and its own physical limitations.
Artist Pierre Schmidt constructs surreal worlds filled with the inner horrors of the subconscious, both terrifying and beautiful. Using photo-manipulation, illustration, and collage, he combines both traditional and digital methods to create scenes of people with faces dripping right off their skulls. Many of his disturbing, melting face runs down the composition, only to reveal sudden bouquets of flowers. Using vintage photographs, he collages imagery of 1950’s housewife types lounging about, only to be caught up in a peculiar and fantastic scene. Schmidt’s work is highly psychological, as many of his pieces have titles based on the theories and writings of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. His flowing faces crack open the hidden psyche, pouring out its contents for us to examine. The face being a vessel of identity, Schmidt strips his characters of this so that we may look inwards into our own mind.
The Berlin based artist offers us a glimpse into a strange world of bizarre happenings, filled with faceless ladies, lush flora, and silhouettes that contain galaxies. Schmidt’s work is full of emotion and internal awareness, leaving us to sort out his stunning and complicated mash of imagery. We are left to decipher his sliced open heads, melting eyes, and rainbows oozing from faces. Like stream of consciousness, Schmidt melds together his illustrations with a unifying flow, effortlessly forming captivating and magnetic work. (via Hi-Fructose)