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.
Artist Alan Bur Johnson natural motifs often. However, this may be his work at its most creepy. Johnson’s Progeny series begins with photographs of winged insects. The photographs are transferred to transparencies and affixed to the wall using insect pins. Progeny allows viewers to inspect the insects up close, afford creatures we’d otherwise dispose of more time, and give some thought to taxonomy, the exercise of classification. Interestingly his statement says in part:
“Whether an image, memory or specimen, each is meticulously dissected, altered and restructured. Referencing physical structures and the pulse of living cycles, his work documents fleeting occurrences, which typically transpire unnoticed.”
Photojournalist Anthony Karen has a specific and refined talent. Karen’s website mentions that “his passion for photography began in Haiti, where he documented the various Vodou rituals and pilgrimages throughout the country.” Even with this first series Karen displayed a knack for capturing groups of people, specifically those marginalized from larger society. For his latest book White Power, Karen was granted rare access to photograph Ku Klux Klan groups freely. Rather than portray familiar dramatic images of hate, many of the photographs depict mundane daily life, yet are somehow all the more unsettling. Indeed, much of the series’ disconcerting undertones certainly springs from Karen’s ability to capture people with a certain candidness rare in front of a camera lens. [via]
The installation 24 HRS in Photos by Erik Kessels isn’t a typical photography installation. An entire room at San Francisco’s Pier 24 Photography is filled with photographs. One end of the room is piled to the ceiling with images cascading down to visitors’ feet. The photographs at first appear to be innocuous: family photos, vacation photos, smart phone photos. The immense number of photographs compiled by Kessels, though, are all of the images uploaded to the popular site Flickr in a single day. Kessels’ installation serves as a clue to astronomical number of images uploaded to the internet constantly. Even more striking is the way 24 HRS in Photos hints at the sheer saturation of images in day to day life. Kessels’ installation is part of A Sense of Place, a photography group exhibit on view at Pier 24 Photography through May 2014.
Socialist-era monuments dot the countryside of the lands that once made up Yugoslavia, many of them World War II and concentration camp memorials. The majority of the the monuments were commissioned by then president Josip Broz Tito during the 1960’s and 70’s. Photographer Jan Kempenaers toured the countries that once made up Yugoslavia to document the monuments in this series of photographs. With the fall of socialism and the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the monuments were largely abandoned. The monuments’ neglect is apparent and contrasts severely against their futuristic aesthetic.
The grouping of monuments have not only been abandoned by visitors but also their meaning and symbolism. They ask serious questions regarding the nature of monuments in the sculptural tradition. What is a memorial when it no longer memorializes anything?
The images of Andrea Delo Toro Sicsik seem to relish their weirdness. Her work is a series of photographs that don’t hide that they’ve been digitally manipulated. Rather they revel in their clearly altered states like a digital hallucination. Faces both playful and sinister materialize behind a pastel fog. The photographs are arranged much like traditional portraits. Indeed, there is nearly a religious atmosphere in each image’s composition.
For her series AMMO, Sabine Pearlman documented a collection of World War II era ammo with some 900 images. The bullets are bisected to reveal its inner workings, like some kind of munitions autopsy. The simple compositions burn off the vaguely violent shroud that envelops the images of bullets and their symbolism. Instead, Pearlman presents the purely technical mechanisms of war, a reification of weaponary. The photographs reveal the surprising amount of innovation and craft dedicated to causing physical harm. [via]
The advent of Google maps was eventful for the general public – it became the first time most of us had access to these views of earth. However, it also turned out to be problematic for some governements. Some governments obscure areas they deem too sensitive to appear on Google maps. This is generally done by simple blurring or covering an area with a white or black box. In his series Dutch Landscapes, Mishka Henner presents the unique censorship of the Dutch countryside. The Dutch forgo simpler censorship methods for a strangely attractive one. Variously shaped and colored polygons cover sites the government would rather keep off the map. Inadvertently (or perhaps intentionally) the Dutch government abstracts the landscape in way that fits in well with an artistic tradition.