In her recent series I Don’t Know The Names of Flowers, photographer Kristina Knipe examines her struggle with self-harm by documenting the marks and personal effects associated with the trials of others similarly suffering. Through the vulnerability of her subjects– some of whom she knew and others whom she found over Craigslist– the artist reveals a richly specific portrait of her own injury.
Inspired in part by the work of Alessandra Sanguinetti, Knipe situates her subjects within a decidedly natural world. Against a backdrop of wildflowers and floral patterned sofas, her portraits courageously reveal a tension between the beatific organic landscape and the angled, mechanical patterns of scarred and restitched flesh. The title of the work amplifies this sense of alienation, laying bare the tragically unfulfilled desire to connect with the simple purity of a budding rose.
Gently evoking poignant feelings of nostalgia and loss, this notion of innocence and corruptibility is explored further by Knipe’s expertly uncomfortable use of childlike imagery. In Andrew’s Dress, she presents a tiny article of clothing that for a grown man serves an unknowable purpose; as it wavers in the wind, viewers are forced to confront permanent blood stains. Similarly, a Raggedy Ann doll splays herself almost obscenely in a bed, revealing the words I Love You carved into her chest in red. For a particularly devastating image, Knipe shoots a page in a journal, revealing the terrifyingly pained visage of a girl scribbled in crude and childish lines.
Amidst this haunting sense of innocence lost, Knipe’s sprinkles her photographs generously with a dangerous sense of addictive ecstasy. Her photographs are decadent, richly colored and tonally mesmerizing. Scarred flesh is gleaming and sensual, and a beer can explodes orgiastically over a blissful subject. With relentless passion, Knipe invites viewers into a private world, colored by highs and lows that are equally difficult to navigate. (via Feature Shoot and Tischtography)
British photographer Nick Veasey uses an x-ray machine to discover the transient magic of everyday things from clothing to stuffed animals, but most beautifully– flowers. Although, the concept is simple, the effect is quite radiant: imagery blooming with intricate nuances, highlighted by surprising shades of light. The whole collection is fine reminder of that medium’s powerful science outside of the airport– that technology doesn’t just serve to protect, but how it also serves to expose.
Pawel Bownik meticulously pulls each flower apart: disconnecting the leaf from the stem or the petal from the pistil, taking involved notes all the while, so he can, eventually, reassemble each piece back to its original state. His photography, collected here, documents such reconstructions. From far away, each image blooms and seethes with life. However, with a steadier eye, up close, we see pencil marks, bits of string, tape, and pins holding it all together. Like some strange sort of floral Frankenstein, the dead is regenerated.
Portia Munson’s latest show at P.P.O.W uses photography, installation, and sculpture to create a vibrant and colorful atmosphere that examines nature, including our own.
Entering the gallery, photographic wallpaper of dandelions reach out from under a series of still life prints or memento mori: images of actual flower blossoms, carefully arranged by the artist as a mandala, inside of which, a woodland creature, formerly found along the roadside, nestles.
Of her imaging process, Munson elaborates, “I use the scanner like a large-format camera. I lay flowers directly onto it, allowing pollen and other flower stuff to fall onto the glass and become part of the image. When the high-resolution scans are enlarged, amazing details and natural structures emerge. Every flower mandala is unique to a moment in time, represents what is in bloom on the day I made it.”
When shown alongside Munson’s other piece: Reflecting Pool, a “congested installation” of heaping blue landfill trash, we are forced to confront our natural instincts– to build and discard with quick irreverence.
Photographer Fong Qi Wei transforms flowers simply by dismantling them. Her series Exploded Flowers captures a variety of flowers picked apart petal by petal then carefully arranged. The meticulously arrayed petals closely resemble mandalas or celestial bodies. Each composition underscores the unbelievable symmetry packed into often small flowers. However, there is also subtle medical atmosphere to the photographs, as if they were autopsied flowers or like pinned butterflies. Her series has garnered her some awards including 2nd place in the International Photography Awards’ Nature category. [via]
Enrico Nagel‘s Secret Garden is a series of collage portraits. High fashion models are contrasted against a plain paperboard background. Each model’s face is replaced with a garish arrangement of flowers, jewels, and other ephemera. Nagel juxtaposes what he terms as the “artificial imagery” of the fashion world with the natural imagery of flowers. Each bloom seems like a nearly violent coup of the subject’s identity, the clothing being the only remnant of the former glossy fashion mag photo.