Klaus Pichler

‘Who hasn’t had the desire to be someone else for a while?’ asks Austrian photographer Klaus Pichler. His recent photo project ‘Just the Two of Us’ captures Austrians hidden behind the costume of their choice, on a very intimate level as the setting is their own home interior.

The Austrian born and bred photographer has been working on this project for more than two years, as he quickly realised that people were quite reluctant at the idea of letting a stranger into their home. It would seem that everyone has the desire to be someone else for a while, but only in a certain space, which, ultimately, says a lot about this project and people on a sociological dimension. There is something so intimate about revealing your own space, your own habits, that one could argue it can only be done if you cover your identity, so as to not be associated with it. Pichler’s series is an interesting rendition of how people step out of their own skin to create an alter ego/personae.

What then, is the motivation behind stepping out of one’s own skin? Pichler says that over the course of the shooting, he was able to see a pattern emerge; for a lot of people, dressing up is a way for them to cope with society’s pressures. Some had a boring or stressful job, or had issues in their everyday life. Either way, the act of dressing up allowed these people to inhabit a different world for while and feel more empowered. Pichler believes that costumes give people the excuse for a “temporary withdrawal from civil life.”

http://www.kpic.at

 

Sebastian Bieniek

The Berlin-based artist and photographer (and film director!), Sebastian Bieniek has recently released a ‘work in progress’ photo series titled ‘Doublefaced’, depicting the intimate day-to-day actions of a two-faced girl. The photographs show a normal girl – you see her in a bath, smoking a cigarette, in a car park… And then you realise that she has two faces; one half of her features drawn on with thick black lines. It is subtly frightening and slightly eerie, almost Picasso-esque (I like to imagine that this is what a modern real life Picasso would be).

A lot of people have criticised the photo series, saying it is a poorly executed project. I, on the other hand, believe that the power of these images rely on the fact that it is ‘self-applied’ makeup as opposed to ‘beauty makeup’, and the smudgeness of the lines only reflect the limits of our imagination. When does a face cease to be a face? What is the connection between our confusion and our imagination? Can a fragment of reality be just as valid as a reality in itself? From my point of view, these are questions that the series try to raise through the use of double dualities and merging realites. When does the ‘I’/’eye’ cease to exist by itself’?

Bieniek himself has said that he doesn’t know where the project is heading, or what is really consists of. It started when his son was really ill and sad, whereupon he drew a happy smile on the side of his face. From there, it has evolved into a project gaining  more than 73,000 followers around the world, with Bieniek uploading regular photographs on his Tumblr and Facebook page.

 

 

 

You can follow Sebastian Bieniek on his Tumblr or on his Facebook

 

 

 

Adam Black

Adam Black is a happy-go-lucky 18-year-old, just starting art school but already reaching notoriety for his enlivening bold and poppy work which as featured on t-shirts he has designed, gig posters and much more! Definitely reminiscent of the Cape Town sunshine he grew up in and now Nottingham based, his work touches upon the clear political and socio-economic undercurrents in both the South African and the UK landscapes.

Think: ‘Whut!?’ ‘Arms’, ‘Life’ to name a few slogan-like texts which lie sprawled, in funky letters across drawings, paintings and increasingly digital and collage work. It is hard not to like. Like, it is hard not to like this scanned piece of ham. Adam works very quickly and points out various family members painted in his recognisable but perhaps unflattering style, seemingly always armed with drawing materials! Paintings are light hearted and slightly satyrical and the film photographs very sincere and documentary-like, collage work perhaps playing lightly between the two.

Check out Adam’s website at www.adamtblack.com, tumblr – letsadamblack.tumblr.com and follow him on Facebook at for new work and updates,

(All images copyright to Adam Black)

Ruta Skemaite

Some of Ruta Skemaite’s masterful photographs evoke a feeling of dreamlike stillness, and their simplicity may serve to camouflage the level of technical skill that goes into such images. However, if you look closely at one of Skemaite’s still life photos, you will begin to notice her clear eye for what to include, what to keep in focus and what to allow to recede into the background. This skillful editing of normal objects and everyday scenes is what makes her work so compelling and enjoyable to look at. For example, I was blown away by the crispness of the apple alongside the cloudy haziness of the sheet in this photo from her series, Virtuves Mitu Griovejai 2.

Skemaite graduated with a BA in film and photography from Edinburgh Napier University in 2013, but is originally from Lithuania. Now she divides her time between the UK and her native country, drawing inspiration both from the places she travels to, as well as returning home. She describes her work as both documentary and conceptual. Her series, The Island, for example, not only captures the color and textures of the seaside features, but also creates a series of compelling images that seem to ask the viewer to attempt to decipher a narrative of some sort. In many cases, her documentary technique does not only inform, but it raises greater questions and curiosity about the locations she photographs.

Ruta’s work has won several photography awards and has been featured in exhibitions in both the UK and in Lithuania. While the work that I found most compelling was her still life photography and self-portraits, she also has several impressive series of documentary photography and portraits of others in her online photo-blog. Whether candid or posed, the shots are undeniably striking. Her work can capture the essence of a person or place through details and atmosphere that have to be seen to be believed, so check it out here!

Vittorio Ciccarelli

Vittorio Ciccarelli is an Italian artist, born in Naples in 1980, who currently lives and works in Aversa. His projects range from unusual to spectacular, always involving multiple layers. Ciccarelli enjoys playing with everyday objects such as paper, books, bubble wrap and pill wraps, decontextualizing them and offering them a new vision.

His first project ‘Bookmark’ is intended to be slightly ironic, combining two different eras: old and new. In that sense bubble wrap is juxtaposed over a picture of an old Renaissance painting. There is a playful twist on the hidden identity of the woman in the tableau, almost as if she were to attend a bal masqué, with a modern pill package over her eyes instead of the traditional feathered mask. The underlying theme of identity is explored throughout the series as she keeps hiding herself under a butter knife, bubble wrap or even a patterned window that only allow for colours and shapes to emerge out of a blurry vision.

Ciccarelli’s second project, ‘Amabili Resti’, is slightly more deep, visualizing the ‘sense of beautiful things, lost or forgotten, and later found’. Only fragments of portraits are shown, such as a torn picture or a square which represents an eye. Again, themes of lost identity and beauty resurface through Ciccarelli’s projects, reflecting on what needs to be seen  and what needs to remain hidden from the public eye; an accurate portrayal of beauty back in the time.

Vittorio Ciccarelli

Transfer by Kevin Corrado

Kevin Corrado is a fine art photographer from Connecticut. For his latest project ‘Transfer’, he dips his hand in paint and places it in front of a landscape, creating interesting and beautiful visual lines. The project began as a playful idea of the ocean being a giant sea of blue paint rather than water. By subverting our pre-conceived ideas on nature, such as the blue sea, Corrado is making a playful comment on the intense connection between landscapes and colours. Corrado takes simple landscapes and simple ideas that were instilled in us during our elementary days -the sea is blue, yet the water isn’t even blue, it’s transparent…) and makes them complex, layered and textured. By doing so, he also explores his role as an artist and the choices he must make. He argues, for example, that ‘a painter is given the task to paint a tree, but that painter must choose to use green paint’. Corrado must, therefore, choose a colour, which is ironic since it is not something that a photographer (his medium of choice) would normally do.

The unique quality of Corrado’s work lies in its intricate mixture between surrealism and lyricism, embracing nature yet distorting it to make it eerie, beautiful. Corrado’s background is initially one of graphic design, so a lot of his work seems to hold on to qualities of design. He himself states that during his studies, one question that always came up was ‘why’?.  Now that he has completed his design studies, he finds that his work constantly forces him to remain completely conscious over every decision he makes when creating art.

Kevin Corrado

Time travel photography by Chino Otsuka

‘If,
again
I have a chance to meet,
there is so much I want to ask
and so much I want to tell’

So begins the introduction to Chino Otsuka’s most recent photography project ‘Imagine Finding Me’. Chino Otsuka is a Japanese visual artist based in London, whose work is very subtle, very soft and very nostalgic in a way that only the Japanese can be. Softness becomes loud with intent with Otsuka’s work as  her last project explores the themes of time travel, nostalgia and memories through heartwarming photographs. Otsuka took several old photos from her childhood and teenage years, and digitally manipulated her present self in them, creating a series of double self-portraits.

This series of portraits become vehicles of the self and of time, where Otsuka’s journey is wonderfully re-arranged. At first glance, the photographs could be of two sisters, or a mother and a daughter, roles which the present Otsuka ends up playing by ways of rearrangement. Almost like pictures from a trip, the series takes us to Paris, London, and even Tiananmen in China, but the real movement is, of course, through time, for Otsuka considers  the relationship between past and present to be a fluid one. The digital manipulation then acts like a time machine, whereupon the photographer goes back in times, like a tourist in her own history.

www.chino.co.uk

 

ARCHIBALD PHOTOGRAPHY

Most of us are pretty much content with the three likes we got on Facebook from the Instagrammed picture of our feet sunbathing in front of the sea last summer. When you entrust Mark from Archibald Photography with a phone that has a decent camera, the result is not exactly the same. Who knew that you could master photography to the point that shots taken with a phone camera look like a professional photo shoot?

In Mark’s Nokia Lumia 920 Camera Project, the conventions of traditional photography (convention n°1: use an acceptable camera) are successfully subverted and it is a combination of both talent and technique that allow him to capture the beauty of Scottish landscapes. They say you can tell a good workman by his tools, but clearly Mark doesn’t go by old sayings. The 32 shots taken from his phone positively show that he has an impeccable eye for photography as they take us on a journey through the colorful, vibrant – and sunny – Scottish countryside.

Archibald Photography was created in 2003 by Donny, who is in charge of marketing and client contact, and her husband Mark, the photographer. Both born and raised in Scotland, they have done some projects at home, but their main focus is travel documentary photography. Mark’s work is already recognized in the United Kingdom and he has won many awards: the 2009 Best Complete Wedding Photographer, the 2010 Scottish Fashion Photographer of the Year and the 2012 Scottish Portrait Photographer of the Year. He and Donny are now based in Biggar, in Scotland, and have specialized in wedding photography, along with portraits, commercials, and fashion and music photography.

Interestingly, Mark’s shots of Scotland strongly contrast with the rest of his work – and whether his vision of Scottish weather is accurate can become a subject of serious debate. In his travel pictures particularly, he makes a strong use of black and white that gives a dramatic and almost tormented atmosphere to the places he shoots: even an innocent palm tree in Lagos becomes threatening from the perspective of his camera. This is because he works a lot with film and not digital cameras, which is quite an unusual initiative that lends more authenticity to his work. His photos seem like they are from another age and in this sense, they allow us to travel not only through space, but also through time.

To be kept informed of Mark and Donny’s projects, you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook, or visit their official website.

Charlotte Rutherford

A lot of words may come to your mind while looking at pictures taken by Charlotte Rutherford, 21-year-old photographer and retoucher from Norwich but, there is one that you just can’t use to describe them – boring. Her work is, always bold, colourful and intentionally kitschy drag you into the crazy world of Charlotte where everything is covered in glitter and more is more.

Charlotte’s photographs are playful in every sense; they flirt with convention, make use of pop-cultural references (Myspace era anyone? Oh, I bet you did have a glittery background on your profile!), reverse roles and find beautiful in plain ugly. Apart from them, the photographer sometimes becomes a filmmaker and creates short fashion films or band videos while still maintaining a consistent personal style.

In the times where most young photographers are expected to present a polished, good-looking version of the world, Charlotte hits us with an extreme. There is no place for beige, neither there is for imitation and trying to be someone you’re not.

Oh, and did I mention that she is the loveliest person to talk to? I’ve had an opportunity to ask her a couple of questions on her work by e-mail and can ensure you she is as fun as her projects!

Enough with my talking, let’s see what she has to say about her work:

So, Charlotte – how did it all start? Getting your first camera? Lusting after someone’s perfect selfies on Myspace? Boredom?

Ha, yep exactly! I wanted a cool dude Myspace picture so I took pics of myself in the bathroom and did a horrible selective colour on them! And I’ve just been doing the same exact thing on a larger scale really.

You have your own, bold style and a clear vision of what you want your work to look like. How long did it take you to find your artistic voice and somehow define yourself as a photographer?

It took a while to kind of “get” what I wanted to do, but I think I’m getting there now. I used to take photos and not like them at all then it all just clicked that there are no rules and it is only a photo so it’s fun to do just anything you like.

Are there any pictures or collaborations you are particularly proud of?

I just shot the Gogo Phillip collection with Soki Mak, she’s mega fab and it was super fun to shoot. I think that’s my lil fave project at the moment!

Do you think living in Britain affects your work? Inspires you?

I think it does! Even if it is trying to take photos which are escaping looking at Britain.

Apart from you, who do you think is the one worth watching?

Photographers – Dominic Clarke, Nadia Lee, Hanna DiAmond are all so fab.

What are your plans for the future?

I wanna learn spray painting (you know, like the horrible graphics of women on 80s fun fair rides) and work more on set design and make some lil films!

If you want to see more of Charlotte’s work (and I know you do!) head to her website.

Joseph Ford

Joseph Ford, a Brighton-based photographer, had his first break in 2004 with an advertising campaign for TVWA Paris, when he was still studying at the University of Cambridge. Since then, he has been lucky to work for clients around the world. Over the last few years, he has also been commissioned to fly around the world to source landscapes for his ‘aerial’ project, where he spends up to 12 hours meticulously arranging designer clothes to blend with his photographs.

These aerial landscapes are a sharp combination of natural areas and various everyday design items, such as jeans or jackets. On one side, you have the natural landscape, and on the other side, a continuation of it through a similar looking yet different medium, textiles. It probably raises a lot of questions and themes about the human eye and beauty, pointing out that more often than not, the shapes we see in our everyday life are inspired by nature itself. Although most of the time it is done subconsciously, the true beauty of the world lies in the natural shapes nature contains. Through Ford’s lens, North African dunes blend in effortlessly into the folds and creases of a sweater, and a highway road lines up with the strap of a watch.

The series of sharply executed images was selected for the Association of Photographers Awards in the UK and received an Honorable Mention in the International Photography Awards.

 

 

Shannon Tao

When it comes to art, paths cross in the strangest of ways – and there’s no better place to do it than in London. As Samuel Beckett once said: if you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. Yet oftentimes, talent springs up from the turf closest to home. As a kid I went to an international school in Guangzhou, China… and so did aspiring fashion photographer Shannon Tao, now studying at London College of Fashion.

Born Canadian-Chinese and working in London, Shannon’s work is introspective and reflective. A dreamy, nostalgic quality exudes from her photos: her models pose, stilted yet languid, in fancy dress or nondescript clothing, against leafy backdrops or the clinical edge of a toilet. The slender youths gaze towards the viewer, slightly blurred as if a Gaussian filter has been cast over their frames. Pink, violet, sky blue: Shannon’s world is largely hued with sentimental pastels and framed in polaroid – impulse shots of an everyday banality. Like what you might capture of a friend or an “odd in-betweener” with a blink of an eyelid, they are translucent, ethereal and glaringly transient.

Already, Shannon is starting to make waves in the fashion world, her newest series Glitzy Daydreams having recently been featured on Canadian-English magazine Zeum Mag as well as a collaboration with blogger Jiro Hsu being featured on Elle China.

To see more of Shannon Tao’s photography, visit her website.

Phoebe Cheong. Fashion Photographer.

Leibovitz is 63, Testino 58 and Terry Richardson is simply just old enough to know better. All these fashion photographers have become household names and icons in their own right through their extraordinary journeys and beautiful works of art, but who’s next? I spot a Phoebe Cheong on the horizon.

I was fortunate enough to meet the talented Miss Phoebe Cheong back in 2010, after we had both been bribed with tickets to Underage Festival by We Are Photogirls to snap up shots of style-tastic festival goers. I was a little shy and reserved at first, holding my Nikon close and muttering under my breath; “I don’t suppose.. I could have a photo?”, whilst Phoebe on the other hand, had vast dip-dye-denim-donned crowds diving in front of her lens. Practically from the first 5 minutes I had spent with the girl it was clear what she was put on this planet to do.

Since that day, I have followed Phoebe’s work religiously, being fed tidbits of behind the scenes, videos and props from each shoot via her official Facebook page and falling in awe for her carefully edited delicious outcomes.

After recently graduating from Arts University Bournemouth, it was more than a pleasure to catch up with the Malaysian-born missy and grill her that bit further..

Let’s start with inspiration, which photographers inspire you most and why?

– I am currently very fond of the works of James Meakin and Chen Man. My recent work has been inspired by Meakin’s use of light and locations in his images. Chen Man’s work excites me as it embraces the strength and individuality as a young generation of China.

What excites you about fashion photography?

– The creative team. It always amazes me how innovative when a group of creatives get together to produce a fashion piece. 
That said, it excites me when I am finally able to share my images to world once they are edited and published in an online/printed magazine, after keeping it a secret for months after the shoot!

How would you describe your signature style? 

– I would describe my work to be colourful, cultural and bold. I have started to be very much inspired by the Chinese culture, and I hope to infuse my experiences in both the East and West into my future work. 

What’s been your most enjoyable/rewarding shoot?

– I really enjoyed the shoot when I went to Beijing to photograph an editorial piece. Working with an amazing team, beautiful Chinese model and breath taking traditional location, I was able to bring these images back to the West and share the beauty of the modern and traditional in China. Not only has the images been published in an online magazine, I also had the opportunity to display these images in an exhibition in London, and the responses to these images have been extremely rewarding.

(Phoebe with her photographs shot in Beijing for Noctis Magazine showcased in ‘Thrive’ photo exhibition at the Candid Arts Trust, London.)

Funny anecdotes from shoots?

– There are always funny moments from all my shoots, but my favourite one had to be when I photographed in Beijing for Noctis Magazine. Whilst photographing in a very traditional residential part of Beijing, we came across some local men playing Chinese chess on the street side. I suggested our Chinese model Hui Hui, to pose amongst them without disrupting the game and five minutes into the shoot, one of the men screamed out loud and almost fell off his stool! Apparently he was frightened from not being aware of her presence and how tall she was!

Biggest obstacle along the way? 


– The biggest obstacle would be finding your unique style that makes you stand out from the crowd. Be patient, it does take time and hard work to find your unique style. Experiment as much as you can and challenge yourself on every shoot you do. It will definitely pay off at the end! 
Furthermore, before a shoot, I usually have a good idea of what I would like the outcome to be. However sometimes, I believe that some things fall apart so that better things can fall together.

Who would be your celebrity of choice to snap?

– It has got to be Miss Sasha Fierce, Beyonce!

Proudest fashion moment so far?

– When I was shortlisted for the ‘Fashion Photography Award’ at Graduate Fashion Week!

Tim Walker or Rankin?


– Tricky one! But Tim Walker wins it.

(Myself, Mia Gorgis and Phoebe at Underage Festival, London)

Ever been starstuck?

– Yes! When I saw Donatella Versace flying on the same plane as I was to Beijing!

Talk me through your favourite sandwich. 

– My mum’s tuna sandwiches: diced celery, carrots, red onions mixed in with tuna and mayonnaise spread on toasted bread, yum!

What is your treat at the end of a good shoot?

– Pancakes!

Phoebe’s portfolio stretches beyond just a few photographs on a page or in a magazine, it is a constant conveyor belt of beauty which is so hard to keep up with just as a follower, it’s difficult to imagine where she even finds the time to create these wonders. To get a real understanding of her work, why not head over to her official site here.

See you queuing up around the corner of Somerset House for one of her exhibitions. I give it a couple of years.