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Posts tagged: fine art photography

Vulnerable Portraits of Men in the Nude

16 December, II

21 November, I

23 November, I

For twelve months, the Paris photographer Laura Stevens transformed her bed into a stage set for a series of portraits, and more than fifty unnamed men agreed to pose nude on a single white sheet. In most cases, she had never met her subject prior to the shoot, but after some tea and conversation, a new collaboration was born. “The shoots often seemed like a sort of hypnotic slow dance,” she tells me. “They lasted normally a couple of hours, or two albums of music. The same music each time: Bach: The Goldberg Variations and some Phillip Glass.” The sessions culminated in a project simply titled him.

The choice of the passive “him” as opposed to active “he” reinforces the photographer’s own role within these silent vignettes. The art critic John Berger famously wrote, “men act and women appear,” but in Stevens’s personal inversion, she, the photographer, is the onlooker, while he, the muse, is the one observed. “It felt natural for me to photograph men in postures of softness, quietness or passivity, it being how I normally like to photograph people in general, male or female,” the artist admits. “I suppose I find vulnerability beautiful.” We asked her to tell us more.

These Eerie Photos Will Make You See the Planet in a Whole New Light

“My nights are full of silence and the occasional howl of coyote,” the photographer Reuben Wu tells me. His series Lux Noctis has taken him to some of the most isolated regions in the American West, as well as remote spots in Europe and South America, under the cover of darkness. He flies a drone to light his way, illuminating sections of the landscape at will.

Inside the Colorful Mind of One Traveling Photographer (Sponsored)

Scroll through Kevin Krautgartner‘s Squarespace website, and you’ll find yourself asking, “Is that real?” The German-based photographer has traveled the globe, tracking down some of the most surreal natural wonders and uncanny architectural details imaginable, transforming them into one-of-a-kind, candy-colored confections for the eye. With a background in graphic design, he has an impeccable knack for noticing unusual forms and elements, accruing tens of thousands of followers and drawing the attentions of photo editors around the world.

As he gained traction and popularity for his minimal architectural shots as well as his aerial landscapes, Krautgartner had big plans in the works. His photographs are beautiful on the screen, but they’re also meant to be seen in person. For that reason, the artist created an online store. Fully integrated into his vibrant Squarespace website, this fully-realized PrintShop gives photography lovers the chance to own their favorite images. Not all of us can travel halfway across the world at a moment’s notice, but through Krautgartner’s store, anyone can take home a piece of an Australian salt lake, the tulip fields of the Netherlands, the sweeping skyline of Dubai, or even a grand German concert hall.

We interviewed Krautgartner about his award-winning work, and along the way, he gave us some insight into the inner workings of his website and store. With his shop up and running, Krautgartner can turn his attention to what matters most: making more images of unique places from seemingly unimaginable vantage points. Opening a new business can be daunting, especially for an artist, but this photographer shows us just how easy it can be to build your way to success using Squarespace web hosting.

The Secret Bond Shared by Animals and Children, in Photos

Throughout her career, Meera Sulaiman has come face-to-face with a wide array of wild animals, ranging from the giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands to the trumpeter swans of Ontario. She’s seen the circle of life up-close, witnessing the development of young animals in their native landscapes. She didn’t deliberately set out to photograph animals in captivity, but an encounter she once observed at a local zoo remains embedded in her psyche. A female orangutan and a young girl sat face-to-face, separated by glass, mimicking each other’s gestures. While other adults moved on, she lingered there, and she returned to the subject again and again.

Her project Whispers captures the silent connections that form between children and animals. “Children seem to have a magical affinity with animals, and I see parallels in their worlds,” Sulaiman says. “This series is inspired by my love and fascination with exploring this special, yet little understood, relationship.”

Photographic Stories of Love and Loss, As Performed by Hollywood Stars

Jennifer Jason Leigh

Noomi Rapace

Julianne Moore

It has been said that if you want your story to have a happy ending, you have to know exactly where to stop. Except, life is not a novel or a film — nothing quite so neat. Even the best of endings can be a source of grief.

The end of a love affair is a heady subject, one that has long been exalted as subject for exploration in the arts, as well as an experience the informs and transforms countless lives: each story a tapestry of details that are uniquely fascinating for the complexities they reveal about the human condition.

Photographer Caitlin Cronenberg and art director Jessica Ennis decided to explore the subject in their new book, The EndingsL Photographic Stories of Love, Loss, Heartbreak, and Beginning Again (Chronicle). Here, the true stories of the final moments of a relationship are recast featuring some of Hollywood stars including Julianne Moore, Tessa Thompson, Kiera Knightley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Danielle Brooks, Paz de la Huera, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Here, in each photographic vignette, we are drawn into the raw, vulnerable moment of transformation. These tender moments of awareness allow for the profound shift from the past to the present through the actualization of the present moment. It is, as Mary Queen of Scots had embroidered on the cloth of her estate while imprisoned by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, awaiting her death: “In the end is my beginning.”

Here, Cronenberg and Ennis share their journey creating this evocative and enigmatic body of work.

Photos of a Lonesome and Imaginary Salesman

Yesterday Was a Good Day

A Cliche of a Phone Call

The Old House

“I am kind of stuck in the past, visually,” the Norwegian photographer Ole Marius Joergensen tells me. His series Vignettes of a salesman follows the many wanderings of a fictional traveling salesman–an ageless figure from the 1950s, who, in a surreal twist, has journeyed not only through space but also through time. “He is here in the present, representing something which is gone,” the artist explains. “He is from the old world walking around in our world.”

The Magical, Mystical Muses of Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas. Racquel Reclining Wearing Purple Jumpsuit , 2015.
Rhinestones, glitter, flock, acrylic, and oil on wood panel. 96 x 144 in.
The Rachel and Jean-Pierre Lehmann Collection

Mickalene Thomas. Racquel: Come to Me , 2017.
Rhinestones, acrylic, oil, oil stick, and glitter on wood panel. 108 x 84 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

Look, but don’t touch, just imagine how it feels as your eyes caress the surface of a work of art by Mickalene Thomas. Painting, photograph, and collage commingle effortlessly as sequins, rhinestones, and glitter every hue imaginable make their way across the picture plane. Spellbound, you stand there and breathe it all in, taking refuge in the infinite glory of the sublime.

At the heart of Thomas’s work is an intoxicating sense of intimacy, a sensual embrace that that seems to embody the very air we breathe. One is immediately seduced and disarmed, overwhelmed by the feeling of being welcomed into this milieu, a space that suggests a boudoir filled with velvet and lace, with veils that cover and reveal, of secrets to be shared.

At its very center, it is about relationship, about the dynamic that exists between artist, model, and viewer that dances into the timeless sunsets of an infinite land. It is rooted in the connections Thomas holds with the women who inspire her to create a wonderland.

Make a Stunning Photo Book with This Great New Tool

I’ve loved photo books ever since I was a kid, so when I learned about Motif Photos, a native extension for Photos on macOS, I knew I had to make one of my own. Motif uses cutting-edge technology to simplify the process of putting together a top-of-the-line photo book, card, or calendar; in minutes, anyone and everyone can use this tool to design the perfect holiday gift. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, this new extension makes it easy to build a beautiful collection of your favorite images.

I quickly downloaded Motif Photos from the App Store, and then I let my creative side take over. The concept for the book was a seasonal collection of winter landscapes from photographers all over the world. I didn’t want anything typical or overly cheery; instead, I imagined a book that reminded me of that sort of pleasantly melancholy feeling I get on chilly December days. I spent hours searching for some of the most magical and surprising images I could find, and in the end, I had a curated collection of almost forty images. Once I launched Motif, it took me less than five minutes to bring my book to life! The extension took care of all the hard work, and it was smooth sailing for me. Let’s take a look at the process.

Tip: Before you get started, it helps to view everything in full screen.

Once you’re ready, open up the album you want in “Photos” and click “File > Create > Book > Motif”.  Motif has hardcover and softcover books in all different sizes. Each of them is affordable, with the least expensive softcover starting at $9.99. I chose a 10 x 10 hardcover for its durability, good size, and trendy square format.

From there, Motif instantly creates your project. They have tons of themes to choose from, ranging from the classic and chic to the hip and unexpected. I almost went with “Pretty in Pink” because the color complemented some of the images I’d curated for the book, but in the end, I settled on “Gold on White” because I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible and bring the images to the fore.

If you, like me, don’t have graphic design experience, I highly recommend you opt to “Autoflow” your book. The Motif technology understands images and formatting, so I trust it to do that part better than I ever could. Don’t worry: they’ll even help you edit your photos! If you have a bunch of images that look similar, like I did, they’ll pick out the best ones for the book. Motif will also analyze every image for printing quality to make sure it’ll look great in the final book.

When it came time to design the cover, I knew exactly what image I wanted to use: a pensive horse seemingly lost in a paradise of snow. I titled my book Winter Landscapes, and while I loved the sophisticated gold, I mixed it up a bit with a deep green for the text to match the trees in the cover photo. The font was perfect for what I wanted, so I didn’t change it.

Here’s where the fun really starts. Motif is amazing when it comes to sequencing images for you, but you can easily change any detail with their intuitive and interactive image tray. The image tray tool is like your own personal photo editor, so you’ll see your best photos have been noted with a checkmark and sequenced beautifully according to their colors, atmosphere, and composition.

When it came to the first page, I went with a classic Icelandic scene. I deliberately chose a few images with an “on the road” theme (i.e. snowy streets, misty railroads) because I wanted readers to feel as though they were “traveling” through the book. From there, we visited a pastel vista from Luxembourg and a lovely polar bear from the Arctic.

One of the page layouts literally made me smile. The image tray tool paired the deer photo with a gray-muzzled golden retriever. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to pair these two animals together, but seeing them there on the pages, I couldn’t ignore the similarities between their expressions. There was also something vulnerable about both of them; the deer looked like he was hunkering down for a harsh winter, and the pup had clearly reached his golden years. They somehow belonged together in a way that was both heartwarming and poignant.

Motif surprised me again with a stunning layout of five images: on the left, a misty swamp, and on the right, a group of images that together formed tapestry of greens and whites. These photographs images were perfectly paired, and they shared similarly moody, wild, and ethereal atmosphere. It was a stroke of genius for Motif to couple the Swedish landscape with an abandoned waterslide; I only realized the parallel lines in these photos when they were presented side-by-side.

Next up were pages 14 and 15. The cutting-edge technology over at Motif paired up two vertical frozen landscapes, which I had hoped for from the start! That layout was followed by two sublime and mysterious photos in which all shapes and forms seemed lost in blankets of fog. From there, we went straight into another Icelandic vista across and a serene forest, and I decided to add an almost abstract crop of tree branches into the mix. As we drew to the end of the book, I wanted the images to start to feel airy and delicate, as if we were heading into the eye of a blizzard, and Motif helped me tap into that vibe.

Before checking out, I gave myself a full run-through of the entire book to make sure it was just right.

I eagerly awaited the arrival of my book, and within a few short days, I found it right outside my doorstep. The packaging was beautiful, and the book itself knocked my socks off. I grew up looking at art books, and this one instantly stood out as pretty and sophisticated. The colors came to life on the printed page, and together, the images helped tell a story about frosty and enchanted winter days. I made a cup of hot tea and spent quite a while thumbing through the volume over and over again.

Winter Landscapes is now proudly displayed as the pièce de résistance of my bookshelf, and I know I will return to it many times throughout the upcoming months, curled up on the coach and watching the snow fall outside my window. I also created a Motif Photo book for my husband, and the process was so intuitive and quick that I know I’ll be making more in the future. Using Motif was such a fun, easy experience from start to finish, and I am delighted by the results.

The Beauty of the Aging Body, in Photos

Merle Sparlin

Ione Buie

Warren Dalton

Over the course of nine years, the Missouri-based photographer Anastasia Pottinger has worked with models over the age of one hundred years old. She’s spent time by their sides, listened to their stories, and recorded the details of their skin in black and white. Now, you can find her photographs of fourteen of these centenarians collected in the new book 100: What Time Creates, published by Marcinson Press.

David LaChapelle’s Stunning “Letter to the World”

State of Consciousness, 2018 Impression pigmentaire/ pigment print. 163 x 111 cm

A New World, 2017
Impression pigmentaire, negatif peint a la main / hand-painted negative pigment-print.
162,2 x 242,5 cm

“By three methods we may learn wisdom,” Confucius observed. “First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

In the 2,500 years since Confucius wrote these words, his observation of human nature has been proven true countless times — but time is now working against us, as the first fifty years of the Antropocene Era dauntingly reveal. We see it unfolding before our very eyes, but we are far too deep in the thick of it to pull ourselves free, as all systems of progress are moving toward the future as though it were a fait accompli.

Yet there is always possibility embedded in the existence of hope, of the final force unleashed from Pandora’s Box. It is how we move forward despite what foresight suggests in the study of the human condition and the prophecies that it brought forth. It is the answer when there is none. A flash of light in the darkness to remind us, all has not been lost. It is the spark that shines and reflects: there is a better way.

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