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Posts tagged: fine art photography

Exploring the Chimerical World of Fantasy in “Korean Dreams”

Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-Il was the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea between 1994 and 2011. Affectionately referred to as the “Dear Leader”, Kim Jong-Il presided over a highly repressive regime that controlled virtually every aspect of political, social and economic life. Note: The North Korean government website once stated that Kim Jong-Il was the world greatest golfer and never needed to urinate or defecate.

Mass Gathering
The North Korean constitution guarantees the freedoms of speech and assembly but in practice the regime does not tolerate any challenge to its authority or propaganda machine. Gatherings outside state-organised civic events and ceremonies are strictly prohibited in order to prevent the spread of dangerous liberal ideas.

The media will have you believe we live in a post-truth world – but what they fail to mention is, this is the way it has always been. Misinformation, disinformation, deception, deceit – the powerful have always sought to use smoke and mirrors to cover their tracks. In a world ruled by 24/7 communications, we have amplified the divide between illusion and reality, opinion and reportage.

Yet, the systems that distort, erase, and wholly rewrite history exist within all cultures, regardless of wealth and technology. Consider North Korea, a nation that exists as both a fantastical image and a quixotic mystery to the world. The distance between these two realms has captivated Canadian photographer Nathalie Daoust.

In her new exhibition, Korean Dreams at the Gadsden Museum of Art in Gadsden, AL (September 7-October 29, 2018), Daoust has created a series of photographs that act a metaphor for the way information is manipulated in North Korea. During the development stage, Daoust deliberately obscures her photographs. As the layers of film are peeled off, information is “lost,” and what remains is a haunting shadow of the original – it’s truth no longer evident, or even essential to the viewing experience.

24 Photos from The Print Swap Are Headed to London!

Visitors © Sebastian Dijkstra Nilander (@___sebastian_dijkstra___), Lier, Norway

guides & messengers / net fishing in Cartagena © Hakim Kabbaj (@ _______hakim), Brooklyn, NY

Palouse Green Acres © Clark Most (@clarkmost), Midland, MI

The Print Swap by Feature Shoot is coming to The Other Art Fair in London on October 4th, in an exhibition curated by Caroline Hunter, the Picture Editor at The Guardian Weekend Magazine! This show is our first in the UK, featuring 24 images in total with photographers hailing from the United States, Canada, England, Norway, Germany, Poland, Italy, Belgium, and Qatar. The Other Art Fair is expected to draw over 14,000 visitors.

While this show has no fixed theme, Hunter’s selections feel bound by a common thread; that is, they all seek beauty in the overlooked. These artists ask us to discover and delight in the surprises that lie beyond the surface, whether it’s the poetry of color in the streets of London (Kyun Ngui), an otherworldly trick of the light behind a seemingly ordinary tree (Sebastian Dijkstra Nilander), or the shadow cast by a lonely basketball hoop (Bastian Richter).

Remembering the net fishers he encountered in Cartagena, the photographer Hakim Kabbaj writes, “Despite the fact that they were just kids making a few bucks for the day, at that moment, they seemed to become mythological figures who had control over everything around them, the boat, the net, the fish, the birds, the tides and sun.” Amanda Annand says she feels “most at home in small and unusual places, and similarly, Edward Kreutzarek admits, “I always had that affinity for those not ‘obviously beautiful’ places.”

If you’re in London between October 4th and 7th, be sure to check out the show in person! As always, we invite photographers around the world to submit images to The Print Swap by tagging #theprintswap. Our team of editors selects outstanding images to be part of the project, and participating photographers both give and receive prints. Prints are mailed out at random, so it’s always a fun surprise to see who ends up with each print. A photographer in New York, for instance, could receive a print from Pakistan. While it’s free to submit to The Print Swap, selected photographers pay $40/image to participate, and that covers printing and shipping in full.

In November, we’ll be having our holiday party and exhibition at ROOT Studios in Manhattan, and all photographers who participate in The Print Swap between now and November 11th will get to show work! Learn more at our website, and follow along at @theprintswap on Instagram for more.

These Nostalgic Photos Capture the Spirit of NYC

Sleuth

Chrysler

When describing the American photographer Berenice Abbott, the French poet Jean Cocteau once said, “She is a chess game between light and shadow.” It’s been almost ninety years since Abbott made New York her stomping ground, but her ghost continues to haunt its streets. And perhaps if you look hard enough, you’ll see she left a few of those chess pieces behind.

Ian Robert Wallace knows how to find them. As the child of two architects, the young photographer and filmmaker always shared a bond with the city. “I knew when I was growing up that I wanted to live in NY at some point,” he admits. “I thought it was mesmerizing.” He finally made the move when he went to NYU in 2012, but in some ways, the much-anticipated arrival took him back in time.

Photos of 65 Iconic Artists In Their Bathtubs

Keith Haring, 1982. Photo © Don Herron, courtesy Estate of Don Herron and Daniel Cooney Fine Art

Phoebe Legere, 1988. Photo © Don Herron, courtesy Estate of Don Herron and Daniel Cooney Fine Art

The East Village, 1988: Phoebe Legere was preparing to pose in her bathtub for photographer Don Herron. The 25-year-old songwriter had signed to Epic Records—one of the most powerful in the world back then—and they poised to make her into some combination of Madonna, Barbra Streisand, and Liberace. At the same time, Legere says, Michael Jackson had reached huge commercial success, Cindy Lauper was past her prime, and few female singers or artists were depicted as strong or powerful figures in stardom. Not to mention there was a booming yet wholly male-dominated art renaissance emerging quite literally around the corner in New York, according to Legere. Even Keith Haring was showing at the now-iconic FUN Gallery just half a block away from Legere’s apartment, where she still resides today. “It was a boys club, no question about it,” Legere tells me. “Girls were not welcome, except as maybe a muse or a drug dealer.”

A few days before her photo shoot with Herron, however, Legere had an idea. The up-and-coming musician could use the session to reveal another one of her talents: painting. Using black bathtub glaze, she adorned her bathtub in paintings of fish—which she calls her “totem animal”—and voluptuous women. She didn’t think her beauty alone was enough to would hold anyone’s attention. By the time Herron arrived, after he climbed 80 stairs to Legere’s fifth floor walk up, the paint on the tub had not yet dried and the water had turned black.

Ethereal, Dreamlike Photos Inspired by the Cosmos

“I was always fascinated by the stars,” the Greek photographer Petros Koublis tells me. “In Greek mythology, they are connected with many myths. Heroes and heroines, after they have completed their sagas, get transformed into constellations.” The stars, the cosmic dust, and the space between all form the thematic foundation of his series Silentia, a reflection on the origin of our universe and the dawn of man.

The Sublime Poolscapes of Karine Laval

Through the eyes of Karine Laval, life by the pool becomes a fantastical escape from it all. Here, the raucous laughter and joyous shrieks of children wet and on the loose mellifluously float through the air along with a cool spray of water that gently lands upon your skin.

In the Poolscapes (Steidl) of Laval, we slip away into a world where fun in the sun never ends. The book brings together two connected bodies of work—“The Pool” (2002–05) and “Poolscapes” (2009–12) made at public pools in urban and natural environments in Europe and private pools in the United States.

As the pages of Poolscapes float beneath our fingers, Laval’s photos evoke sensations of peace and excitement, finding their balance in the space that oscillates between representation and abstraction until the murky depths take on metaphorical terms. Here, Laval takes us for a dip into the curiously primal world at the modern-day swimming hole.

12 Must-See Exhibitions at the Indian Photography Festival

Delhi, India © Alejandra Cardenas, from The Print Swap by Feature Shoot

The Indian Photography Festival (IPF) by the Light Craft Foundation is now underway! As South Asia’s leading photography festival, IPF 2018 includes stunning exhibitions, talks, workshops, and portfolio reviews with some of the world’s most influential and pioneering artists, journalists, and editors. Among those present are the photojournalists Nick Ut (Vietnam) and Anush Babajanyan (Armenia), National Geographic‘s senior photo editor James Wellford, the photographer Sandro Miller, the photographer/filmmaker Pep Bonet, and many more.

Featuring 550 photographers hailing from 52 countries, this year’s events speak to the power of photography to inspire social change. Exhibiting organizations range from Women Photograph to the Siena International Photo Award and everyone in between. The festival opened last night at the State Gallery of Art in Hyderabad, India, and it will run through October 7th. In anticipation of opening weekend, we put together this preview of just twelve of this year’s extraordinay exhibitions to whet your appetite. Be sure to head on over the IPF website to see the whole schedule. And if you’re in or near Hyderabad this month, don’t miss the chance to see all the shows in person!

Picturing Mexico Through the Eyes of Lola Alvarez Bravo

La visitacion, ca. 1934, printed 1971. Brooklyn Museum.

Los almiares (Labores), ca. 1940.

Lola Álvarez Bravo (1903-1993) was a singular figure in twentieth-century art, a woman whose independence defined the spirit of the era. “I had a strange need for something and I didn’t know what it was. I was in intense rebellion against certain things that they thought I should do because I was a ‘little woman’ and a ‘young lady,’” Álvarez Bravo told Olivier Debroise for Sin título [Biography of Lola Álvarez Bravo] in 1979.

“They thought I would respond to a predetermined social plan. But I felt a strange rebelliousness. I wanted to be something. . . . It was an internal rebellion.”

That something propelled her to tremendous heights, with a career that spans more than half a century as an artist, curator, activist, and educator. As one of the few leading women artists in Mexico during the post-revolutionary renaissance, Álvarez Bravo would become an integral figure in a coterie that included Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

The Hidden Wetlands of the Rhine River, in Photos

It was a foggy autumn morning and I was on my way to an appointment,” Switzerland-based photographer Marco Zedler tells me. “From the road I saw the top of a dead birch tree nestled behind trees and bushes. That made me curious, as birches are usually removed from densely populated areas.” He’s recalling the first time he discovered the hidden, mystical landscapes pictured in his ongoing Wetland series.

A few days later, Zedler returned to this location and noticed a small swamp just beyond the brush. He couldn’t see much. Everything was overgrown. But as he crept past the underwood in this area along the Rhine River, it was as if he stepped through what he calls a “magical portal.” In what felt like an instant, Zedler was transported from a noisy, densely populated street into a world of nature and solitude.

Otherworldly Photos from the World’s Largest Salt Flat

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the planet’s largest salt flat, will literally take your breath away. “The air is crystal clear but very thin, which makes it hard to breathe,” the Berlin-based photographer Navina Khatib tells me. “You always have a taste of salt on your lips, and in some places there is a strong smell of sulfur. There is a profound silence, and the colors shine very bright.” Her photographs from Uyuni reflect that sense of breathlessness; instead of recording the reality of the landscape, she captures the sensations of being there, in the middle of nowhere, more than 3600 meters above sea level.

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