When I first looked at Yossi Loloi’s “Full Beauty” project, I felt conflicted, and, admittedly, a little irritated. Loloi’s whole mission statement is something we, as women, are constantly being reminded of– how the media is a horrible liar, how all women’s bodies are beautiful, how the art world is sexist too, and how we need to subvert to change and love our bodies, love ourselves. Right? Right! So, how might we do this? According to Loloi, one way, is to examine unconventional imagery such as his own collection of beautiful obese women, commercially lit in relaxed settings.
Of his intention, Loloi’s website states, “I focus on their fullness and femininity, as a form of protest against discrimination set by media and by today’s society. What larger women embody to me is simply a different form of beauty. I believe we own ‘freedom of taste’ and one shouldn’t be reluctant of expressing his inclination towards it. Limiting this freedom is living in a dictatorship of esthetics.”
What Loloi says is not horrible, not terrible. It’s quick, easy, and makes perfect sense. Scroll through the photos and you will see that these women certainly are strong and brave to share bodies that, on the surface, are not generally appreciated. I love the female subjects for embracing this. In fact, the women’s bravery is the most redeeming aspect of this project.
The subject of Suren Manvelyan is so basic to photography it seems to hardly ever be captured individually. While typically considered as “windows to the soul” in art, Manvelyan’s series considers the beauty of the human eye simply as a biological structure. Eye colors are especially vivid in his images. However, it is the texture of the eye that is especially arresting. The iris seems like an alien terrain or some or some sort of cosmic object contrasting with the black void of the pupil.
During the summer of this year a small group of people struggled to preserve a public park. Quickly the scope widened, crowds grew, and the underlying anger became about something much larger than a park. The demonstrations were considered to be widely peaceful. At times, however, emotions and force erupted with violence. Photographer Barbaros Kayan was on the ground to capture the unfolding protests. There is a subtle difference about his series Occupy Taksim that distinguishes it from much of photojournalism covering the events, a certain frank grittiness. Its almost clear from the images, the photographer is familiar with the city, intimate with the battleground.
Photographer Julie Blackmon is the eldest of nine and current mother of three. Drawing inspiration from her own life experiences and also the paintings of Jan Steen, a 17th centure Dutch genre painter, she creates rich tableaux of family life.
Bypassing the idea of parenthood as a prison sentence, trapping the adult away from his or her “real” life, Blackmon, instead, reminds us of how valuable domestic life is to our own sense of dreaming– examining the home as a magical place where fantasy and reality merge together to empower community, creativity, and inner exploration. It is a place that we can remember fondly, lovingly, and longingly. Even if our childhood was less than perfect, there are still flashes of brilliance in the everyday quiet interludes that Blackmon seems to address with ease and specificity.
Holding her Nikon Digital SLR camera up to a spotting scope, Carol E. Richards examines a surprising array of feathery emotions akin to her own.
The use of two surfaces or buffers, sometimes three, if shot through a window, create a fascinating ring around each figure, a soft focused vignette of sorts, comparable to that of a toy camera. The result is an ambient deepening, apparent not only in the composition, but also in the subject matter and the artist’s intrigue with trailing or meditating on each flighty movement.
Salvador Dali once said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” On this note, Richards explores the act of bird watching as a certain mirroring, clearly exposing humanity’s inclination to anthropomorphize animals and as she asserts, “project qualities onto them that can be heartbreaking, sweet, or simply intriguing.”
Thus, in the vein of Dali’s quote, Richards shares with us her most recent collection: Birds Have Wings from Nazraeli Press.
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]