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Posts tagged: portrait photography

The Utopian Splendor of Tyler Mitchell’s Universe

Untitled Two Girls Embrace, 2018

Untitled Hat, 2018

Tyler Mitchell made history in 2018 as the first Black photographer to shoot the cover of American Vogue, at the tender age of 23. His subject was no less than Beyoncé, and their collaboration was unlike anything that had graced the fashion bible during its 126-year reign. But within Mitchell’s oeuvre, the series is perfectly in tune with the artist’s vision of a Black utopia.

It is the sensation of euphoria that comes from a place of inner peace, pride, and freedom — a state of being that is naturally grand, sensuous, and enchanting. It is a realm Mitchell composes in his photographs, portraits of friends, colleagues, and confidants that informs the mood and approach to create a powerful feeling of intimacy, joy, and community.

I Can Make You Feel Good, Mitchell’s first solo exhibition now on view at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam through June 5, 2019, brings together significant works and pairs them to with two new video installations: Idyllic Space and Chasing Pink, Found, which pairs images of leisure with crowdsource audio stories of Black microtrauma.

Alec Soth’s New Work Embraces the Grandeur of Intimacy

Alec Soth. Sonya and Dombrovsky. Odessa. 2018

Alex Soth. Nick. Los Anglese. 2017

After the 2015 publication of Songbook and a retrospective, Gathered Leaves, Alec Soth decided to take a hiatus from photography in order to reconsider his creative process. For more than a year, Soth ceased traveling and opted for the pleasures of solitude found in his farmhouse in Minneapolis. Here he explored new forms of art making and meditation, keeping open to questions rather than searching for answers.

“When I returned to photography, I wanted to strip the medium down to its primary elements,” Soth remarks in the artist statement for I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating, Soth’s new exhibition at Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco and accompanying monograph just published by MACK.

Rather than continuing to explore the epic narratives of American life, Soth turned inward, exploring the space in which people intimately connect and share a moment of mutual interiority in the creation of art. I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating is a path to connecting across the divide, a reversal of Soth’s previous perspective as seeing photography as a means to separate himself from the world.

Dave Heath’s Breathtaking Dialogues with Solitude

Dave Heath. New York City, 1960 

Dave Heath. Washington Square, New York, 1960

At the age of 16, Dave Heath was paging through a 1947 issue of LIFE magazine when he came upon “Bad Boy’s Story: An Unhappy Child Learns to Live at Peace with the World,” a photo essay by Ralph Crane that explored the life of an orphaned by growing up in Seattle.

Heath, who had been abandoned at the age of 4, immediately felt seen. Living in foster homes and an orphanage, Heath saw himself in both the protagonist and the journalist at the same time. Heath had already been participating in a camera club and recognized that photography could become a lifeline between himself and the world.

It was a commitment to which he would give his life, using the camera to document the political, social, and cultural events of the time, while simultaneously creating an investigation of the photograph itself. Largely self-taught, Heath made it his business to learn the craft, theory, and history of his chosen medium in order to create for himself.

Thought-Provoking Photos of Children In Their Color-Coded Rooms

The Pink Project I – Jiwon (K) and Her Pink Things, Seoul, South Korea,
Light jet Print, 2014

The Blue Project – Kyungjin and His Blue Things, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea,
Light jet Print, 2017

Color is many-splendored thing — a bouquet of sensations we often take to heart. Color evokes emotion and desire, excitement and reserve. It is both curious and telling that color would be genderized, with pink and blue, two opposite ends of the spectrum, used to delineate the poles on the binary. Where pink was once the color of masculinity, drawn from the power of red, it was viciously emasculated on July 18, 1926 when the Chicago Tribune ran a notorious, unsigned editorial headlined, “Pink Powder Puffs.”

In it, the author attacked film star Rudolph Valentino, holding him to blame for the installation of a face-powder machine inside a public restroom for men on the North Side. It was a reach, one that was as bigoted and disrespectful as anything you would see today:

A powder vending machine!  In a men’s washroom! Homo Americanus! Why didn’t someone quietly drown Rudolph Guglielmo, alias Valentino, years ago?… Do women like the type of “man” who pats pink powder on his face in a public washroom and arranges his coiffure in a public elevator?… Hollywood is the national school of masculinity. Rudy, the beautiful gardener’s boy, is the prototype of the American male.

It was a sentiment that the American public loved, one that held fast as the color pink received gender reassignment. Blue, which was traditionally for girls, was given to boys, and once complete, the color/gender binary became the latest socially constructed fait accompli.

Because gender is assigned at birth along with sex, paroxysms of cultural hysteria follow in the simplest of terms, when the seeds of identity politics planted in something as inherently universal as color itself. It’s popular because it’s easy — and just a little too obvious.

But sometimes, you can’t see it until it’s arranged in such a way that the undeniable truth is taken to absurdist heights. In JeongMee Yoon: The Pink and Blue Project (Hatje Cantz), Seoul-based photographer JeongMee Yoon sets out to explore the striking intersection between color, gender, and late capitalism.

Magical Photos of Childhood Summers in a Small Austrian Village

Alena plays with a cat and a cow. Merkenbrechts, August 2013

Victor is enjoying his mother’s legs. Merkenbrechts, July 2018

In her project I am Waldviertel, Dutch photographer Carla Kogelman travels to the Austrian region of Waldviertel to the small village of Merkenbrechts, population less than 200. Here, Kogelman transports us into an eternal moment of fleeting childhood summers, a moment where time eclipses in that it is both fast with outdoor adventure, and slow with restless boredom—imagination and play often being its only respite.

An Exhibition of Portrait Photos with a Surreal Twist

Time Dilation © Amelie Satzger

Femme Fiction #1 © Lauren Menzies

In conjunction with the Fourth Annual Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards, United Photo Industries (UPI) in Brooklyn, NY is showcasing the work of two awardees: Amelia Satzger and Lauren Menzies. These two artists were selected by Laura Roumanos, who is executive producer and co-founder of UPI and one of the jurors for the award. With United Photo Industries having a mission to exhibit thought-provoking and challenging photography, Roumanos has certainly chosen two artists whose work encompasses the organization’s ideals in ways that are both complimentary and striking in their contrast.

An Elegiac Portrait of Jim Crow America in Black and White

At the age of 20, Hugh Mangum set forth on a journey as an itinerant portraitist working in North Carolina and Virginia. The year was 1897, and the future was bleak as the peace of Reconstruction was undone by the perils of a new evil on the horizon. Jim Crow, as America has named its system of apartheid and oppression, began, bringing forth the horrors of lynching and the arrival of the Ku Klux Klan.

Over a period of 25 years, until his death in 1922, Mangum created photographs of the American South during a time when laws like 1896’s Plessy v. Ferguson, legalizing segregation and local Black Codes that severely limited black people’s right to vote, education, property ownership, and movement. In the 1970s, Mangum’s archive was discovered inside an old tobacco barn that had been set for demolition and saved at the last moment.

With an open-door policy at his studio, all the world who could afford it donned their Sunday best and sat before Mangum. Using a Penny Picture camera, which allowed for up to 30 exposures in a single glass plate negative, Mangum delivered the classic fine, flat-field image with a graceful fall-off on the edges. The photographer engaged his subjects to reveal slivers of themselves with each new frame, capturing moments of unassailable emotional truth that speak to the human condition on the cusp of modernity.

Behind-the-Scenes with a Photographer Who’s Helping to Reshape the Industry (Sponsored)

In our increasingly image-saturated world, Carmen Chan‘s photographs feel like a breath of fresh air. Before settling in Los Angeles, the photographer worked in New York City and Hong Kong, refining her aesthetic and her voice across the fashion and editorial world. While tackling projects for major brands and publications, she sets herself apart with her effortlessly clean and natural style. Her approach to color and form results in images that feel breezy, uncluttered, and full of energy, and she has a way of tapping into the most authentic aspects of her subjects, whether they’re models and celebrities or interiors and cities.

As a leader in her field, Chan understands the importance of carving out a better future for other artists, and she’s not afraid to speak up about the need for more diversity in the industry. Today, the award-winning photographer has established herself as a force to be reckoned with, both as an artist and a businessperson, landing coveted assignments and supporting her peers along the way.

Chan’s Squarespace website reveals an eye that is at once modern and classic, whether you’re browsing her travel journal or a collection of her intimate portraits. She also created a blog to take us behind-the-scenes on some of her shoots and a quarterly newsletter to keep clients and followers informed about new projects. We talked to Chan about her online presence, her favorite kinds of projects, and her advice for emerging photographers who hope to follow in her footsteps.

The Death of a Parent, Captured in Photos

“Sometimes I feel like I am in a bad dream.”

“Everything is aimless and hopeless. I have lost my direction and I don’t know where to go.”

“Your dad was suddenly lying there in a hospital room. The man I loved.”

The photographer Argus Paul Estabrook remembers his mother calling him from the hospital, and he remembers flying from Seoul to be with his family in the United States. But much of his father’s battle with pancreatic cancer remains a blur. By the time he was diagnosed, it had already reached Stage 4, and when it was all said and done, Estabrook‘s father would live for only three more weeks. “Time was really jumbled like that one drawer where nothing is in the right place,” the photographer admits. “Memories become fractured and mixed together.”

This Is Not an Exit is a poetic recounting of his father’s illness and its aftermath. Initially, the series wasn’t meant to be anything more than a way of coping. It was his father who had first introduced him to photography early in life, and documenting his final days was almost instinctual. “During that time, everything was happening so fast,” he tells me. “I was just trying to hold on to something. That turned out to be my camera.”

Picturing PTSD, the Invisible Enemy

DTI Derek and Phoenix

DTI Ken

DTI Hebert

Nearly two decades into the Afghanistan War, the death toll mounts in a battle on the home front. Every day in the United States, 22 veterans commit suicide, falling victim to an invisible killer: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to the outside world. Once triggered, the mind becomes a harrowing trap where scenes of trauma replay themselves long after they occurred.

Recognizing the epidemic destroying the lives of veterans and their families, Susan J. Barron realized her duty to give them a voice in her powerful portrait series Depicting the Invisible: A Portrait Series of Veterans Suffering from PTSD, now on view at  The Army and Navy Club in Washington DC through April 15, 2019.

Here Barron shares the stories of veterans fighting against the enemy within the gates, a trauma that is sometimes amplified for women soldiers by the horrific betrayal of their male comrades who sexually assault them with impunity.

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