Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Charels Jones was a closet photographer. He was a normal guy, a family man, a very talented and passionate gardener and a little bit of a sneaky British fellow. Jones was born in England in 1866 and died at 92 in 1959. He was a wonderful gardener and managed various gardens as a job throughout his life. He documented his gardening achievements by taking these exquisite glass plate negatives of his vegetables and flowers. Jones' skill was not recognised until after his death when a box full of his (gold toned) silver gelatin prints where found randomly. All the original glass plates where destroyed as Jones used them, in his later life, to protect the young plants in his garden from the sun.
Now it is clear that Jones was a very talented man, in both his gardening and his ablity to capture life in still photographs. His images are simply composed with plain black or white backgrounds behind his subjects that are either just picked fresh from the ground or still attached to the plant. It is clear that Jones cared about his vegetables and thought about they best way to show off each of their individual features.
What i like about this work is the fact that Jones lets the subject speak for themselves. He sets them up in the simplest way and then lets the fruit, vegetables and flowers show their unique and natural beauty off to the camera. He was smart enough to realise that there was something special growing in his garden. But there is also a gritty, dirty feel to them which i like.
Textures, forms and beauty in nature.
Got to love it.
Karl Blossfeldt studied industrial arts in Rome in 1890. Blossfeldt photographed natural plant matter up close and personal. The way he photographed the plants was in a very straight, documentary, specimen kind-of-way, yet at the same time he captured such beauty in the unique shapes, patterns and textures in each plant. This combination creates these amazing photographs that present nature in such a unique way.
The strange thing was that Blossfeldt wasn't exactly a photographer to begin with but was more focused on industrial design, using photography to compliment his work. It is stated that Blossfeldt, "used his plant photographs to demonstrate to students that the best solutions for industrial design had already been anticipated in nature" but this was not taken on board by many students.
Blossfedlt made a book titled, "Art Forms In Nature" and printed all the images with the Photogravue process. He died in 1933.
This work inspires me as my work revolved a lot around various art forms in nature, especially the forms in the sky. When I take a photograph I am usually looking for some unique formation of trees or buildings or both together, that will create an interesting composition against the sky.
I am inspired by the forms that trees take as they grow and die. I always find myself taking out my cameras to photograph different trees in parks near my house. I think of it a a portrait of the tree, as each one has its own way that it has grown which creates its personality.
Art Forms in Nature. Its just a really good way of putting it-thanks Karl Blossfeldt.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Bill Henson's work is quite beautiful, poetic and intimate. He is able to capture a moment, with either models or with nature, that has a feeling that you are witnessing something special. I believe his work is based around recalling the feelings from his memories of times past and i think that is clear in these shots shown above.
I am a fan of all Bill Henson's work. I think he has 'the eye'.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Paolo Roversi was born in Italy in 1947. He took to photography at a young age and started a portrait studio in Italy and did some apprenticing there too. Until, by chance he met the art director for Elle magazine and followed him to Paris, where he remained for the rest of his life. Roversi was influenced and interested in photo journalism when he first moved to Paris but with help from others, he moved into the fashion photography field. He was the assistant to British photographer Lawernce Sackmann, where he was taught all about the professional side to fashion photography, as well as the creativity side. Then Roversi went out on his own and created his own trademark by shooting on 8x10 Polaroid and worked his way up the food chain and is now working for many upper class fashion magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair.
Iam not very keen on fashion photography but i do like Paolo Raversi's work. I like the way he frames the women that he is photographing and his use of colour, sometimes having full colour, other times very washed out or selective colour in an image. I also appreciate his work that is slightly blurry or out of focus, as, for some reason, i find these images more 'fine art' than fashion. Overall I enjoy Raversi's work as it is not the typical photographs that you would think of in relation to fashion photography. There is a heart and a story to each image that I am attracted to.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Alfred Stieglitz. What a photographer. He was born in 1864 and lived until 1946. Stieglitz (along with Steichen) lived through what is said to be the most rapid and radical changes ever to happen in American history. He saw the introduction of sky scrapers and steam trains and managed to photograph them all. His work is important in the fact that it shows us the transformations of the American environment at that time, as well as the society. He was also the creator of the magazine 'Camera Works' from 1902-1917, a magazine that showed Edward Steichen's work many times, along with other innovative photographers at the time. Stieglitz was also one of the founding members of the group and gallery space '291'.
The body of work that I am most interested in is Stieglitz's 'Equivalents'. This series of work is almost like a study of the ever changing sky, a documentation of the different types of clouds that Stieglitz saw everyday. In this day and age, when looking at these photographs it is easy to say that they are nothing very special or exciting. Yet when put in context to the time that they where taken in, they where very important. It was the first time that a photographer had pointed their camera at the sky and taken photographs of this kind. It is said that these photographs where an expression of Stieglitz's feelings and emotions at the moment that he was taking the photographs and that there is this whole other context to the images than just being exciting photographs of cloud formations.This is why they are so special, as they are about Stieglitz's emotional state and experience at the time the photographs where taken.
I think that Stieglitz's photographs of his wife (the bottom four-pretty sure it was his wife, but not 100%) are very beautiful and creative for the time. The Equivalents series is one that i have revisited over the past year and a bit, as lots of my photographs are of landscapes and cloud formations. I don't know what it is about clouds but I believe they are very emotive and beautiful and often over looked. There is something special about the fact that they are ever changing and are not a permanent thing that we can touch and control as human beings. I love photographing them and they are very important to my work. I have never come across the complete collection of the photographs by Stieglitz but would love to see them one day, all together.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Edward Steichen was one of the most important photographers in the early 20th Century. He lived from 1899 to 1973. Steichen was good friends with Alfred Stieglitz and the two are often mixed up and thought to be the other person. This is only because they where both quite revolutionary with there work, lived at around the same time and where friends.
Steichen's work has very beautiful contrasts and tone, caused by what we now call various "alternative photographic processes".
I have always admired his work and would love to see his photograph The Pond- Moonlight ( the last row on the left) in real life. I was luck enough to see his photograph of The Flatiorn Building ( the third row on the right) when i was in Melbourne last year. Boy Oh, boy was it beautiful. It was only about an 8x10 print, but it was so rich and deep in contrast.
I found this quote from Edward from after the first world war (in which he was an areal photographer) that I find interesting:
"I am no longer concerned with photography as an art form. I believe it is potentially the best medium for explaining man to himself and his fellow man."