As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Roger Kisby‘s interview with photographer Shawn Brackbill.
Shawn Brackbill is a Brooklyn, New York based portrait, fashion and music photographer.
I first came across your work a few years ago on Flickr. It seems like you were shooting mostly musicians then. How did you come to be involved in shooting fashion week?
I was shooting mostly musicians up until my first Fashion Week. I pitched a shoot to Dazed and Confused in July of 2008 to cover an event called Boadrum 88. It was started the year before by The Boredoms, a Japanese band, and that year Gang Gang Dance would be leading the performance of 88 drummers here in Brooklyn. I covered the event using multiple Polaroid cameras and Yashica Electro GSN rangefinder I had acquired from Ebay and refoamed.
A few weeks after delivering the images from that shoot, Dazed contacted me about covering the Spring / Summer 2009 New York Fashion week for them. They basically sent me out with a list of shows to cover and not much direction. That season I started to figure out what and how I wanted to cover Fashion Week and was hooked.
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Photographer Jeremy Ayer and graphic designer Julien Mercier have been collaborating on a series of photographs titled “Aude” that feature a nude female exploring, or used as a decoration in, a large mansion. In some of the photographs, the female body appears to be on ornamental display, almost doll-like, and contrasted with some of the other objects on display in the mansion. Despite her nude body, the photographs are shot in such a way as to leave the female figure shrouded in a bit of mystery.
“With her pale skin, her slender body, she represents a certain ideology of beauty, as dictated by contemporary magazines. But paradoxically, the raw image remains in a direct visual language, not constrained by any commercial obligations. There is no digital manipulation which would withdraw all of her natural eroticism. In the same process, the statues whth their perfectly carved silouhettes, oppose with her curves left intact. The brutal and frontal lighting, exposes here entire body. But always fleeting, she remains inaccessible to the viewer, out of reach, in height.” (via ignant)
Presenting your artwork in the best light is always a must. The good people at Made With Color couldn’t agree more and have taken it upon themselves to create one of the easiest and cleanest website building platforms in the world. Made With Colors delivers easy to use websites that are mobile friendly with drag and drop functionality. This week we’ve teamed up with them to feature one of the many artists that use their platform to present their work.
Wandering inside the landscapes of Justin Kim is like entering the consciousness of the artist. Choosing to paint different subjects according to the seasons, he ends up depicting landscapes during warm weather periods, when he can sit outside and take advantage of nature. His inspirations lead his paintbrush. By painting outdoors, Kim surprises himself and improvises on the go. Each painting is filled with soft harmonized colors that have a washed out vintage feel with wide brushstrokes and dense layering that captures the far reaching horizons. The exact locations of each painting is unknown but Kim’s rich sense of color, perspective and space makes us want to run out of our homes and search for these impressive landscapes.
As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Sandeep Mukherjee. See the full studio visit and interview with Sandeep and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
Klea and I visited Sandeep at Pomona College in Claremont, a small town about 30 miles east from downtown Los Angeles. Sandeep lives in LA, but as an Assistant Professor of Art he’s been provided with a studio on campus (lucky him!). After getting a bit lost and stopping for a quick lunch at a random Mexican family-style diner, where we feasted on tasty pozole and camarones del diablo, we finally made it to Sandeep’s studio. The space is big; it’s a wide, long room with a little office area at the front, and it’s extremely tidy and well organized— not one thing appeared to be out of place, and everything is color-coded and meticulously labeled. There was lots of work on the walls, and for the first few minutes Sandeep wildly darted about the room, enthusiastically gesturing, and breathlessly explaining this piece and that piece, and to be honest, I was having a hard time keeping up. But finally, we settled into his office area with cups of green tea and his high-octane energy mellowed a bit and we fell into easier conversation. Sandeep’s thoughts move quickly, and they don’t follow linear paths, instead they zig-zag, whizz, and dash about, but they circle back upon themselves, and are brought and held together by recurring themes. Much of Sandeep’s art is fueled by his curiosity about in-between spaces— when something is no longer what it was, but hasn’t quite yet become something else. His work explores the territory of collapsed tangibility and structure, when meaning and corporality become destabilized, allowing new understanding and perception to emerge. When discussing his current work, which incorporates painting and embossed drawing on Duralene, Sandeep said he was inspired by the idea of a landscape folding in upon itself, where the valleys, the mountains, and the horizon give way to abstraction, but the topography still manges to come through to the viewer. This mutability is enhanced by the film-like quality of Duralane, which creates a range of variation in the material— translucency, opacity, and dimensionality simultaneously exist within the striated colors and black spaces. Sandeep’s work reveals the nature of materials and the impression of the hand and body, as much as it emphasizes the amorphous quality of space and experience.
In her project “City of the Dead”, Iraqi-Canadian photojournalist Tamara Abdul Hadi documents the lives of families living in the cemetery of Bab al-Nasr in Cairo. For the past 60 years, generations have been residing in this modern day necropolis among their deceased ancestors. Children were born and raised in the ruins of the graveyard, they attend schools nearby and even work in the area.
“This is a cemetery of the living”, says one of the residents, Mohammed Abdel Lateef.
Such illegal settlements as the City of the Dead, date back to the 1980’s. They were a primary coping method for local poor and “ultra-poor” inhabitants. Despite unsanitary conditions with no electricity or running water, workers were moving to the urban slums in order to stay close to employment. Overall, there are five main cemeteries like Bab al-Nasr and the whole area was said to have a population density of a whopping 12,000 inhabitants per square mile.
Abdul Hadi is already widely known for her documentary photographs of the Middle East, giving us a close-up look at their controversial culture and society. She states that the Arab world faces many misconceptions, such as oppressing patriarchy, ignorance and others. In her work, Abdul Hadi tends to bring up the softer and peaceful side of the communities which is rarely shown by the mass media. (h/t Middle East Revisited and The New School)
20 Year Old Gustavo Fuentes (aka Flëkz) is not your usual graffiti artist. This L.A. local creates large scale murals on the walls around the city without the aid of stencils, rulers or spray paint. His only material he uses to create his pieces is a roll of humble painter’s tape. Finding light colored, bare walls to work on, Fuentes uses the electric blue of his tape to create amazing designs that you can’t help but notice. The contrast makes his pieces hover and pop off the wall and definitely stand out against the background.
Refreshingly different from most other graffiti and street art, Fuentes is quickly forming a fan base. He uses a technique of overlaying the tape and playing with the thicknesses and gaps left between the layers to create really interesting patterns and optical illusions. Deceptively simple, his pieces are actually full of strange perspectives, beautiful symmetry, fractured segments, sneaky curves and clean crisp corners. Featuring many variations of triangles and prisms Flëkz’s pieces add drama to the cityscape, but still don’t escape the inevitable fate of all street art – that it is unfortunately temporary. So if you can’t see his work out on the streets, and want to see more of it while it is still visible, go here. (Via Source)