Brooklyn based artist David Samuel Stern takes still photographs, and fuses them together so that they appear to be in motion. He begins by taking two portraits of the same person, and then carefully and meticulously cuts them apart before physically weaving them back into one another. This not only creates amazing texture and an interesting checkered pattern, but combines physical features until the composition.
become a hybrid of two faces. With a light and airy palette, these breathtaking photographic prints become ghosts of themselves, two versions or the same person. Two different emotions are often present, creating an interesting dichotomy of the internal character. We are seeing two sides of the subjects, as the weaving alters and skews our perspective. Stern’s highly original technique abstracts the portraits so that they seem to be caught in mid motion. Both original images become blurred after they are combines by weaving. The once crisp photographic prints are transformed by their alteration, creating a painterly atmosphere. David Samuel Stern’s method is simple yet powerful, exposing two sides of each of his subjects. However, the abstraction present in his work also hides elements and details of the portraits as well.
You can see David Samuel Stern’s mesmerizing, photographic work on view at the BAM Harvey Theater in New York City from September 16 through December 20th.
Anthony and other boxer connecting punches. (Old Fire House Soho, February, 2012)
The crowd consisting of a large number of Charlie’s friends celebrate as Charlie wins his match. (Old Fire House Soho, September, 2012)
Two boxers pair up before their match. (Old Fire House Soho, September, 2012)
Ring girl entertaining the crowd in-between rounds. (Old Fire House Soho, February, 2012)
Photographer Devin Yalkin points an unflinching eye to the underground world of illegal fight nights, capturing their raw intensity. These “Friday Night Throwdowns” happen in secret locations and venues all over New York City. In Yalkin’s series The Old One Two, this hidden world is revealed through intimate, black and white photographs with a Film Noir flavor to them. This powerful series gets you up close and personal to the fighters and the erupting crowd cheering them on. The compositions in this series can be as hazy and chaotic as the fight itself, capturing the true atmosphere of these fight nights. You can see the unrefined aggressiveness and brutality between the fighters, but also feel the excitement and energy from the audience.
Devin Yalkin allows us to take place of the spectator, seeing every bead of sweat and drop of blood on the skin of the fighters. The high tension and motion happening during these Friday Night Throwdown’s can be felt in each photograph. It is as if we are standing next to each eccentric character; the screaming fan, the eager fighter, or the elusive woman in lingerie whose role is somewhat unknown. All of the individuals shown in Yalkin’s series seem to come from all walks of life, having only the love of the fight connecting them.
Make sure to check out Devin Yalin’s new strange and beautiful series Abductions, which captures ominous scenes of which we cannot place, mysterious and alluring.
Artist Soo Kim severs, cuts, and reconstructs photographs until they become a more ethereal, delicate version of what they once were. Kim’s work portrays buildings fading away, and creates new geometric forms from different objects. Her cityscapes turn into beautiful framework of a concrete jungle after she slices them into their new form. They become a new, unique style of architecture and design that is created from layers of hand altered and manipulated photographs. Her highly architectural work examines these manmade forms in the midst of their environments. She often snips away at the manmade structures, but leaves the lush landscape in the background alone.
Often using photographs of scenes from different cities all over the world, these once extremely diverse places now are stripped down to their bones where they look somewhat similar. Soo Kim’s hand-cut structures unify these contrasting places, creating a balance of harmony. The incisions in her layered and cut two-dimensional work form a sense of volume, a three-dimensional element is added with her manipulation of foreground and background. Soo Kim’s art can often be more abstract, creating more vividly colored work with the same incredible cutting technique. Not always focused on architecture and manmade structures, the artist’s body of work also includes several ephemeral scenes of nature. With a light and airy palette, her tree branches droop, curve, and jut out of the composition in every direction, creating an amazing sense of depth. Make sure to check out more of her work on Angles Gallery’s website, where she is represented.
The world’s strongest man or woman; you may not even be close to it, but these people might be. Brooklyn based photographer Brian Finke captures an inside look into the pageants of incredibly chiseled muscle men and women of bodybuilding competitions. He not only displays the showmanship of this kind of competition, with the small bikinis and bathing suits, but also the competitors getting ready for their big moment in the spotlight. Men and women that seem to be almost bursting out of their skin with muscle parade themselves proudly for the cameras and judges in this captivating series.
Brian Finke’s photography portrays scenes of interesting happenings of everyday life. His documentary style mixed with a little bit of humor makes his work irresistible. This series of his, titled Most Muscular, can be seen on view at the School of Visual Arts Chelsea Gallery in New York City from August 22nd until September 19th. The exhibit not only features unusual characters with almost unbelievable muscle tone, but also another series of Brian Finke’s titled 2-4-6-8. This slightly offbeat series documents cheerleaders doing their routines, with a slight flavor of humor added in as well. Finke’s photography exhibits vivid colors and dramatic compositions, adding a bit of narrative to his work. Check out more of this artist’s alluring documentary style photography on his Instagram @BrianFinke.
Sammy Slabbinck’s surreal collages disassemble the world and construct a surreal place of strange happenings. Taking portions of found imagery, the artist builds compositions in which women are out of proportion and larger than life. They are integrated into the landscape and dominate the scene, while others in the frame barely seem to notice these beauties. There are other bizarre events happening in Slabbinck’s artwork, such as men carrying sections of the galaxy, buildings sprouting out sexy legs, and people at a dinner party watch a bomb go off while appearing unaffected. It almost seems like that the only people that seem aware of their surroundings are the giant women. These are the characters that confront us as viewers, looking right back at us.
Drawing inspiration from vintage books and magazines, Sammy Slabbinck’s collages have a classic feel to them with a modern twist. The composition he creates tends to be both humorous and seductive, as different elements that were once normal now become bizarre through distorted scale and strange juxtapositions. Everything should seem out of place, but Slabbinck’s perfect placement and imagery combinations make everything appear perfectly balanced. You can see more of Sammy Slabbinck’s work on his site or at Saatchi Art.
Artist Filippo Minelli uses the ethereal smoke bomb to paint atmosphere in vibrant colors in his striking series Silence/Shapes. This title refers to Minelli’s intention of giving the concept of silence a physical form. His clouds of color give off the impression of a demanding presence, taking over the incredibly picturesque surroundings that it inhabits. The photographer’s smoke bombs always take place in breathtaking environments, like deep in the mountains are on the surface of a serene lake. The boldness of the colored smoke is a harsh contrast to the calmness of its environment. However, the smoke can be as unpredictable and wild as the wilderness it is in, as it swirls and explodes with color into the misty air of forests and meadows. Even further, some of the most incredible views of Filippo Minelli’s compositions are of his smoke bombs wafting through the air of abandoned buildings. The organic shapes that the clouds take on create an amazing juxtaposition against the manmade structures that enclose around it.
When exploring this aesthetically genius series of Minelli’s, you realize that there is a complete absence of human form. No people are ever present. It is almost as if the colored clouds are a life of their own, standing in for human life. In one of Filippo MInelli’s photographs, it even appears that a bright, orange cloud is resting on a bench outside. The smoke begins to take on personality and substance, traveling to different natural environments and absorbing their majesty. Filippo Minelli explains the inspiration behind the series.
“The idea came to his mind when looking at political demonstrations footage, when he noticed that when the smoke was coming into the scene people stopped screaming and the scene was visually silenced too, so he thought of the smoke as the shape of silence taking over.”
Self Portrait in Black Lingerie with Camera and Mirror, 1955
Bettie Page Reclining on Sofa at Coral Gables, FL, 1954
Self Portrait in Polka Dot Bikini with Rolleicord Camera, 1963
Original personal and behind the scenes photographs of infamous pin-up models Bettie Page and Bunny Yeager are now on view at the art gallery Gavlak, in Los Angeles as part of the exhibit How I Photograph Myself. You may think this is a strange title, but it actually refers to a book that Bunny Yeager herself wrote during her lifetime. Born in 1929, Yeager was not only a wildly successful pin-up model, but also a photographer herself who very often took her own photographs. She came into modeling after meeting actress Bettie Page shortly after studying photography at Lindsay-Hopkins Technical College. Bettie Page asked Bunny Yeager to photograph her, and Yeager eventually began modeling herself. She was not only an accomplished photographer and model, but also a scriptwriter and author, publishing How to Photograph Nudes and How I Photograph Myself, hence the exhibition title. These books went on to influence such well-known photographers as Cindy Sherman and Diane Arbus.
What is so interesting about these photographs, besides the obvious appeal and seductiveness of the pin-up style clothing and curvy women, is that Bunny Yeager was able to become so successful both as the photographer and model; the artist and the muse. Her femininity and beauty was laid out on a silver platter as a model, yet she could be taken seriously in a time when men dominated almost any scene. To portray yourself in such a sexual way and also sought after as a woman in your craft would still be an accomplishment today, let alone in the 1940s and 50s. Bunny Yeager was able to work against the traditional male gaze, and create her own photographic style that is both delicate and alluring. How I Photograph Myself will be on view at Gavlak from July 25th to August 29th.
Something strange is happening in the food chain in Josh Keyes’ new paintings. He renders powerful animals dominating the land; living among other species that they would otherwise never see in current times. A polar bear and a deer swim with the sharks in this artist’s surreal world where creatures run wild. His previous body of work featured the same majestic beasts, but in a sort of diorama display that has you feeling like you are a bystander looking in. Keyes’ new paintings immerse you right into the scene, creating a whole new atmosphere. The environments created are surreal, yet they seem familiar due to the common iconography included in the compositions. Although there are no humans present in any of Keyes’ paintings, we do see remnants of human life. Abandoned traces of civilization remain in the artist’s dystopian world. Street signs exist, but the roads are no longer there, now covered in plant life. Broken down, rusty cars are now trampled by wild fauna and vacant building’s are now part of their playground.
Josh Keyes’ work leaves us asking, what has happened to this world? More importantly, it asks, is this world better or worse than our own? There is a strong sense of environmental politics in the paintings, as the images could possibly be a warning sign for our not so distant future. The natural environment has been changing for some time at the hand of humans. Could this bizarre world be where this path is leading us? Living in Portland, Oregon, Josh Keyes feels a strong affinity with nature and the beautiful, natural environment around him. His incredibly realistic paintings are intriguing as they pull you into both their surreal beauty and their environmental urgency.