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

 

 

 

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.

Harriet Dahan-Bouchard

To be in with the Old Masters, a student of portraiture must boldly go to where it all began. At the Florentine Charles H. Cecil Studios, there an art is taught so fine that fewer than one hundred artists in the UK are trained in this classical manner, and Harriet Dahan-Bouchard is one such practitioner.

Born in London to two artists, Harriet soon moved to Downside School, Somerset, where she spent most of her adolescent life. At the age of eight, her father bought her a book on Ingres, the book that would be the catalyst in finding her vocation; on receipt of this seminal work, Harriet asked her father, the surrealist painter Philip Bouchard, ‘is there money in it?’ Positively assured, her mind was set, and life was full of rigorous artistic training from henceforth.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting for a sanguine with Harriet. The process took approximately ten hours over four sittings, and the result is, I believe, a fabulous likeness. The patience and focus with which the artist commands the room is not at all unnerving, her passion is sincere and dedicated, and her talent indisputable. This process brought to my attention the wonderful rarity of a talent and technique like Harriet’s.

From that early age of eight, the artist honed her skills, which came to fruition whilst studying in Florence. The program is a strict three years, divided into drawing (nudes and portraits), painting, and painting in oil. Students here are taught a traditional method of creation, dating back to the 16th century, called sight sizing. In this method, the sitter is placed directly next to the canvas and the artist moves from looking at the sitter meters away to the canvas, in constant motion and watchfulness. Proportion remains accurate and the result is visual exactitude.

Harriet currently works as a portrait artist from Somerset, and takes commissions for oils and sanguine. She is also exhibiting some of her work at theBathbranch of Urban Outfitters until November, in which the clash of classical and modern is at once both intriguing and completely natural given that Harriet, as the artist, breaches both of these worlds.

She is also soon to be featured on the new art community website called ‘MeMyArt’, a buying and selling site that also offers an insight into the creative process’ of countless young artists. The feature will be on her approach to art, which for any budding young painters is necessary read.

This is an artist worth watching. Harriet is at the forefront of a generation of artists and writers dedicated to traditional technique and original inspiration, and her emergence onto the art market signifies the begins of an extremely exciting artistic renaissance.

Harriet is currently available for commission and can be contacted at harrietdahanbouchard@gmail.com.