Carlo Van de Roer‘s Portrait Machine series is a special kind of portrait photography. De Roer’s portraits are of friends, family, and well known personalities (you may have recognized Miranda July in the first photograph) with a Polaroid Aura Camera. Related to spirit photography, Aura photography uses electromagnetic readings to create the “auras” of colors in the photographs as well as a report explaining the reading. Though the process, readings, and reports are hardly scientific, they reveal much about how much we invest in portraiture. We continually attempt to translate an inner person from outer appearances, particular from a person’s face. The aura photography further reveals to what extent each person can be a mystery to another, even between those familiar to each other.
We have featured the work of Portland based Adam Friedman on the blog (here) in the past. He has just opened a new solo exhibition at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco entitled Space and Time, and Other Mysterious Aggregations that is on view through March 2nd. From the press release Friedman explains, “In my work, rules of perspective, distance, and light are bent. Space can become a solid object and places are folded on top of one another. Millions of years are compacted into a single instant and rocks become fluid. I strive to present a moment that defies human intervention in the landscape, and pays homage to the potential in the inexplicable.”
Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven are a Ukrainian photography duo also known as Synchrodogs whose surreal imagery frames the human body in odd-yet-intimate relations with the surrounding landscapes. This particular series, Reverie Sleep, takes this theme of the “strange natural” a bit further, drawing on the expansive and unearthly realms of lucid dreams. Made with the support of the Pinchuk Art Foundation in 2013, this project emerged from visions the artists experienced while wandering somewhere between sleep and awakening:
“[Reverie Sleep] deals with the stage of Non Rapid Eye Movement sleep, during which some people may experience hypnagogic hallucinations caused by [the] natural process of falling asleep. Experimenting with those lucid dreaming techniques, [Synchrodogs] woke themselves up in the middle of the night to make a note of what they had just seen, gathering their dreams to be staged afterwards.” (Source)
In order to recreate their dream imagery, Synchrodogs traveled to Iceland where they immersed themselves in dangerous and bleakly beautiful environments. As they explained in an interview with NYMag, they shot near “glaciers where you can fall into an ice hole and be found in a week, or in hot lakes where you can get boiled alive if there is a geyser which decides to eject hot water while you are in [it]” (Source). This earthly threat lends the images an impassive quality, just like the intangible lands we explore in our sleep while uncertain of what threats or joys await us.
Inhabiting Synchrodogs’ eerily sublime landscapes are female figures, nude or bedecked in colorful paints and surreal costumes. Bodies morph into ferns and fruit, or lie on cold earth and exalt in the light of an alien sun. Each figure is simultaneously human and inhuman, existing in a hallucinogenic, unquestioning state that dissolves and realigns our notions of reality. Shifting between forms and consciousness, they represent creatures of a limitless and symbolic universe.
Be sure to visit Synchrodogs’ website to see more images from Reverie Sleep, as well as their other stunning and immersive photo series. They can be followed on Facebook, as well as Twitter (@synchrodogs) and Instagram: @taniashcheglova and @romannoven. (Via PAPER Magazine)
Mustafah Abdulaziz’ Memory Loss is a series of photographs captured throughout the United States. His photographs vary widely in content from landscapes to individual portraits to candid groups. They each in some way, though, seem to portray a disarmingly frank American identity. Among other photographs in the series, Abdulaziz groups together an image of little girls returning from a princess tea party with a gathering of tribal elders on an Indian reservation. Indeed, his statement explains that his work “explores social identification and how our ideas of self representation create instances of cultural disconnect.” In 2010 Abdulaziz became the Wall Street Journal’s first contract photographer and in 2012 he was named one of PDN’s New and Emerging Artists to Watch.
Chris Ede, who now lives in London (jealous), calls himself a “freelance contemporary illustrator who has recently relocated to London in search of his design fortune. [His] digitally manipulated fusion of hand-drawn and photographic elements equates to an exciting, multi-textured, conceptual and often humorous illustration style.” His illustrative style blends different layers of photography, computer graphics and hand-created elements.
Guy Overfelt is a conceptual artist based in San Francisco. His work spans multiple mediums and defies easy classification. Whether it is fluorescent light fixtures in the shape of a pentagram mirrored into infinity or wallpaper made from re appropriated punk iconography his projects explore pop culture in a sardonic way. Car culture is another reoccurring theme in his work. One series utilizes a 1977 Pontiac Trans AM as a printmaking tool. Works are made by “burning out” over canvas and paper. These monographs resemble gloomy landscapes. Overfelt has even recreated the Trans AM using inflated nylon to comment on large scale manufacturing and our quest for the “American Dream”.
Denis Darzacq‘s latest series of work, Hyper, seems like scenes captured from the movies….some crazy Matrix looking moves. When I first looked at Darzacq’s work, I thought it was digital photo manipulation or maybe even green screen. Something magical was definitely going on, it didn’t seem real. But much to my surprise there’s no sorcery here, nothing was manipulated in post. If you don’t believe me, check out this documentary that shows the French photographer at work, collaborating with young street dancers in Paris in order capture their dance moves in mid air, and gives them the illusion of falling or flying.