Since the first photograph, photography has ushered forth in producing a consequential depiction of truths through the containment of fleeting moments in a tangible and archival format. Instances in time are revealed as light falls upon sensitized paper, asserting the presence of each photograph’s content. The picture plane remains uniform, constricted by its own variable, physical dimensions: a synthetic simulacrum of a three-dimensional reality that will forever remain in constant flux. And yet, in spite of presenting elements of proof based within reality, the upheaval of the actual authenticity of the photograph has found itself under siege.
Through a variety of executions, the following artists working with the photographic medium twist this truism in unique and awe-inspiring ways, abolishing preconceived notions of photography through a re-presentation of the photograph. In their reconsideration of the ordinarily static picture plane, form is pushed beyond the confines of the image through the destruction, manipulation or interference of the photograph.
Photographer Florencia Durante’s series uses light to wrap her seated subject in a brilliant spectacle of energy. It appears as fractured, gestural drawings that dances on the floor, up the bald man’s (named Ruso) legs and sometimes around his head or out the door. The white-yellow spirit is erratic and is chaotic.
In addition to having a drawn quality to them, these photographs are sculptural. Durante builds up form and by layering line upon line, taking into consideration the contour of the knees and the head. She creates a halo and a veil around her subject.
The light seems simultaneously helpful and terrifying. Ruso sometimes sits idly as it moves around and throughout him. Other times, he has his head in his hands waiting for impending doom.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to photograph for Playboy, ponder no further. Dutch photographer and art director Patrick Van Dam has the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at the infamous magazine in his book, Playboy Behind The Scenes. Published in 2011, it’s full of images that capture the awkward and unsexy moments that comes with the making of every sexy centerfold.
Seeing these images takes some of the allure and fantasy out of Playboy photos. Pulling back the smoke and mirrors, it reminds us they have their share of unflattering moments, too. It takes the proper lighting, strategic positioning, and even water pouring to make things appear just so. Nothing is as glamorous as it seems.
Van Dam directed nude photo shoots for Dutch Playboy for seven years, so he has no doubt seen it all. He even had Hugh Hefner write the foreword for his book:
In these compelling images, Patrick has captured the soul of the Playboy shoot and offered a true celebration of, and homage to, the people who make these beautiful things happen. Vividly here is the intimacy, the fun, and the dedication it takes to create the very best in contemporary erotica. And along the way, true to his calling, he gives the reader a peek behind the curtain of the Playboy lifestyle. (Via Featureshoot)
The Star Wars Millenium Falcon doesn’t exist in real life, but you’d never know it by looking at Finnish artist Vesa Lehtimäki (aka Avanaut)’s photographs. In his work, you can spot a Y-Fighter parked among trees, a clear view of ships in outer space, and action shots of some of your favorite characters . Lehtimäki borrowed his son’s toys to photograph and later Photoshop them into their own believably unbelievable situations. They look so life-like you’d think that these small objects are actually a 1:1 reproduction.
The artist has been a life-long fan of the Star Wars franchise. In an interview with Wired, he talks recalls the impact it had on him. “Two of the great moments of my childhood were the first two original Star Wars movies,” says Lehtimäki. “As a kid I wanted to become a movie director. I made some Super 8 movies but it did not work out that well.” He’s an illustrator and designer, and sees these photographs as a way to explore an unfulfilled career path. (Via Gizmodo)
Photographer Amy Lombard is no stranger to the fringe cultures. Last year, she attended Bronycon in Baltimore (previously featured on B/D here), where she captured some of the festivities. During the year, she also frequented different animal shows and photographed who and what she saw there. The result comprised a series titled, Welcome to the Show. The types of animals range from cats, dogs, lizards, horses, and bugs. Lombard not only documents the animals, but their owners, and the relationship to one another.
The shows she attended are not the likes of the Westminster Kennel Club. Instead, they appear to be local and amateur. Since we don’t know what the context is of the shows, it makes the photographs all the more alluring. Some seem to double as pet shops (it’s only $5 for a painted hermit crab). Her style is candid, and her subjects not posing for the camera. Instead, they go about their business of show, looking, buying, and selling.
Welcome to the Show is the documentary of a niche interest. It’s not particularly glamorous, but is interesting and amusing. Lombard’s eye captures subtleties like small, amusing moments. A dog is wearing a skirt (or apron) with a $1 bill tucked in it. There are numerous people that look like their pets, which doesn’t seem surprising at an event like this.
Photographer Sophie Gamand’s series Wet Dog captures portraits of exactly that – wet, half-washed dogs. This amusing series answers the question of what our furry friends look like while they are being groomed. Some dogs fare better than others, and look relatively normal. With others, their hair looks matted or completely covers their face. Each dog in this series looks miserable and wants the beauty treatment to end. Gamand writes about her series, stating:
Wet Dog is a series on dogs being washed during their grooming sessions. The way the water plays with their hair in a very painterly manner, and their facial expressions as the water is poured on them creates striking portraits.
The idea of Wet Dog is a silly one that is light-hearted and amusing. But, just because it is doesn’t mean that the technical ability of Gamand goes unnoticed. All dogs are posed similarly, but Gamand chooses how to capture the essences of their personality. Even though we have never interacted with these animals, a lot can be told about them. One dog (directly above), has water dripping and is gazing both upwards and at the camera. It’s been caught just before he shakes his coat dry. Instead of looking as animated, others remain still with hair matted over their eyes. These dogs looks docile and defeated, and I feel a tinge of sadness. Gamand’s series humanizes these animals in an odd way. With the absence of their four legs, it’s recognize someone we know in these portraits. (Via Lost Moorings and The Guardian)
Collage artist Ed Spence uses hundreds of hand-cut pixels to interpret photographs. The original works, mundane scenes like floral arrangements and out-of-focus landscapes, are made infinitely more interesting with his additions. Spence abstracts the original image by organizing the tiny squares on top of it. In doing so, he presents his alternative and desired image.
Spence’s works are modern-day pointillism, and the stippling effect made by squares rather than dots. While pointillism has existed since the late 1800’s, the artist puts a modern spin on it by referencing pixels. It looks like this idea was born from our increasingly digital world.
Spence states that he uses a knife and ruler to dissect the information within the photograph. In other words, he chooses what to distort and enhance, which explains the way he pixelates his work. I started to view his collages assuming that he had precisely pixelated the original image. I quickly realized this was not the case. If you squint your eyes, sometimes Spence’s pixels complete the image. Other times, colors and shapes don’t really match up. There’s an obvious disconnect between what I expect the image to be and how Spence wants to depict it. While pixels are often a warped but true representation of an image, the artist plays with this idea. Not only does he craft something analog that should be digital, but he skews what we’d come to expect from it. (Via iGNANT)