Slow → articles tagged with photography

Sammy Baloji

From the moment we encountered the super inspirational work of  Congolese photographic artist Sammy Baloji, we haven't been able to get his haunting imagery out of our heads ever since. In the last decade, the artist, who resides in his city of birth Lubumbashi and Brussels, has gathered international acclaim with his photographic works that explore the cultural, architectural and industrial heritage of the region where he was born named Katanga in the African country Congo. Baloji juxtaposes photographic realities, combining past and present, the real and the ideal, to illicit extraordinary cultural and historical tensions.
With his imagery Baloji explores architecture and the human body as traces of social history, sites of memory, and witnesses to operations of power. History of art and documentary photography blend with that of colonialism. His series of photomontages, of revisited albums confront his historical research with the human and economic actuality (such as the new invasions of these territories by companies from China for instance). All of his juxtapositions are highly charged with meaning, but above all: always succeed in leaving an everlasting impression, that forces one to question past, present and future of Congo and the whole continent of Africa.  [ Continue reading ]

You’re Living for Nothing Now

We have been great admirers of the Lisbon-based publisher Pierre von Kleist editions for years and the latest release from the hands of its founder, photographer André Príncipe, named 'You´re Living for Nothing Now (I hope you´re keeping some kind of record)' is another instant favorite ours, following his extraordinary 'Tokyo Diaries' from 2014. The new title is Príncipe´s take on the I-novel, it is a personal account about how it felt to be alive between 2009 and 2013, translated to his photography. With its Leonard Cohen line´s title, the book forms Príncipe´s most ambitious work to date, organized in three books designed to be autonomous but together forming the complete narrative. The classical music score format of his earlier books is revisited and this time the images center on his struggle with marriage, living in Lisboa, spending time in China, Turkey, Japan, Paris, London and other places. Influenced by sufi and buddhist ideas. 'You´re living for nothing now' is a compendium of gestures, a modern mandala, an elegy of the ephemeral in the tradition of Ed van der Elsken, Henry Miller, and Jonas Mekas — making the publication another extraordinary addition to the catalogue of the inspirational folks at Pierre von Kleist. [ Continue reading ]

Flowers of Delusion

We recently encountered the work of Berlin-based photographer Dirk Müggenburg, who is best known for his remarkable still lifes and series of isolated shots from nature — all with a distinct cinematic quality and brooding mystique to them. His still lifes in particular are of an extraordinary beauty and predominantly the result of Müggenburg's obsession with flowers: both their inherent natural (decorative) beauty and the cultural position they hold. People use them as symbols to make statements of affection and mourning, which also means that people avoid them as they stand for vulnerability and doomed promises. It is very hard to view flowers as culturally neutral objects, for their vulnerable natural beauty arouse either admiration and desire or loathing due to cultural overexposure and negative connotations of kitsch. Müggenburg has explored this widespread hate-love relationship through a critical engagement with attraction, melancholia and sentiment in different series, all showing his extraordinary eye for detail and talent to create a distinct mood in his imagery.

The most diffuse series in his portfolio, aptly named 'Flowers of Delusion', is the one we love the most. As if taken behind a foggy window, the ensembles of flowers in vases are for the most part washed out over the frame, creating a photographic abstraction in the natural, pastel-like, color palette, without ever taking it beyond recognition. It is still very clear that this are flowers, but Müggenburg creates an atmosphere as if he is searching for a way to free them from their wide cultural affect — restoring what in our eyes is still the essence: extraordinary beauty. [ Continue reading ]

Bomba

At the end of last year, the highly remarkable series named 'Bomba', shot by the very talented American photographer Thomas Prior, has been presented as a beautiful book by Dashwood Books, which turned out into one of the more interesting releases we have seen recently. 'Bomba' takes the viewer to the Mexican town of San Juan de la Vega, where every February its people gather together to commemorate a four-century-old battle that occurred between the town’s namesake and the area’s landowners. The story goes that Juan de la Vega, a wealthy miner and rancher, was aided by the saint in recovering gold stolen by bandits. Residents took up exploding sledgehammers to commemorate the victory over the thieves. And so, on so-called 'Fat Tuesday', in the middle of a football pitch in the town, packets of fertilizer and sulfur explode into clouds of dust and shrapnel. Today the tools are reinforced with rebar, and the celebration features blasts but now more flying hammer heads. Hundreds of local men strap homemade potassium chlorate fertilizer-based explosives to the heads of sledgehammers and slam them against the lengths of steel rail.

The isolation Thomas has achieved in the imagery, emphasizes the danger and violence of the peculiar tradition. With the clouds of phosphorus smog surrounding each of the men, the subjects are erupting out the cloud, with the rest of the background misted out erasing all kind of context. This could be a scene out of a war if one wouldn't know better. The result is an ambiguous surreality within the series -and the festival as a whole- as it’s still not totally clear where this salute to Juan de la Vega originally derived from, which makes it a series we can't take our eyes from. [ Continue reading ]

American Color 2

The tremendously talented photographer Constantine "Costa" Manos, who joined the roster of the legendary Magnum agency in 1965, first began taking photographs while in high school when he joined his school's camera club. Within a few years after discovering the art form, he actually becomes a professional photographer and at 19 he gets hired as the official photographer for the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, published into his very first book 'Portrait of a Symphony' in 1961. From 1961 until 1964, Manos lives in Greece, the country of birth of both his parents, photographing the people and landscape. Subsequently he returns to the USA, living in Boston. Where for instance in 1974, Manos was hired by the city to create the photographs for the prestigious 'Where's Boston?' exhibition: a large production in honor of Boston's 200th anniversary.

Decades later, in 1995, after having worked relentlessly for all those years, Manos' work finds a totally new audience when his iconic series focussing on the American people named 'American Color' is released. In 2010 he presents his second series of the same kind: 'American Color 2', which once more shows the extraordinary talent of Manos and has been a favorite of ours for years. As the name suggests, the photographer succeeds marvelously in creating incredible colorful images, portraying as much what is actually touched by the sun as what isn't, with most people in the frames hidden in stretches of shade to a slight surreal effect. Every one of the highly captivating images, succeeding to show one highly coherent signature, portray a America in all its richness, represented from a truly unique perspective of a great American photographer that still needs to be discovered by many. [ Continue reading ]

Where They Create, Japan

We are back in the new year and start it off with a name we have been closely following for years: Australian photographer Paul Barbera. At the end of last year, the talented imagemaker presented a new volume in his acclaimed Where They Create series — this time by exploring the theme of his series through geographical locales. Reinvigorated by his first visit to Japan in five years, Barbera made this country the focus point of the all new volume.  Published by Frame Publishers, Barbera, accompanied by Japanese writer Kanae Hasegawa, explores the workspaces of 32 leading creatives in Japan. With this considered curation of subjects and Paul's extraordinary eye for iconic details, the new book unveils the sometimes surreptitious nature of contemporary Japanese design culture.

The country is well known for its incredible food, beautiful landscapes, innovative technology and its attitude around perfectionism, that has been been setting a new worldwide bar of excellence from the moment it became known. Most importantly for Barbera in his personal journey is the sense of discovery, of both the creatives and their process, which he has been portraying for years know and is exemplified in his imagery, being able to portray more with composition than words could ever offer (especially considering the reserved Japanese culture) — resulting in quite possibly his most inspirational installment of his by now often copied, but still very relevant Where They Create project. [ Continue reading ]

Boundaries

Harley Weir presents her first solo-exhibition at Foam in Amsterdam

The official opening is tonight, but the very first solo-exhibition of the talented British photographer Harley Weir at Foam in Amsterdam has been open for the public since the 2nd of December and we had a chance to see it for ourselves this week. It marks an important step in the rise of the 28-year-old, who has been receiving international acclaim and a growing attention in the last years, after kick starting her career at age 17, when she shot her first fashion editorial for Vice UK. Although presentation-wise the exhibition at Foam isn't the best thing we have ever seen, the curation of the imagery shows the incredible talent of Weir, far transcending the specific subject-matter, showing an intriguing coherent body — undisputedly making her one of the most interesting voices in contemporary photography.

The title of the exhibition, 'Boundaries' refers to what is ultimately dissolved in the work of the photographer. But even as she crosses the lines of what usually holds people apart, on personal as well as political levels she is not out to make any statements. The exhibition therefore reads, as Weir specifically intended it, as a visual poem, open to interpretation. The exhibition shows a mix of Weir’s ethereal portraiture with still life images and reportage work in Israel, India, Jordan and the series that struck us deeply when we encountered it on Dazed some weeks ago: the haunting depictions of the temporary homes at the refugee camps of Calais. Whatever it is in front of her lens, Weir always seems to get to its essence by framing that what seems to speak to her most, creating captivating visual narratives that stick. [ Continue reading ]

FRANCHISE 02

Although we aren't big basketball aficionados, when Justin Montag (Editor-in-Chief), Chris Dea (Art Director) and Brock Batten (Business Development) launched FRANCHISE magazine six months ago, a complete new perspective on the sport opened up to us. With the current state of basketball publications still being dominated by high definition, high gloss visuals, the trio found inspiration for their magazine in the European independent magazine equivalents from the world of football, who for some years now have brought a much needed contemporary vision to the traditional world of that sport, which FRANCHISE aims to introduce for basketball. Last month, marked the highly anticipated presentation of their second issue, after successfully finding a significant audience since April. The incredible new edition follows up on the debut of the magazine in the best possibly way, showing a next level in the creation of a distinct, artistic visual language and content-wise featuring an interview with legendary NBA fan James Goldstein, a fashion collaboration between Phil Oh & Kalen Hollomon, features on Stephen Baker, Sporting Life and a series named the 'Pixel Hall of Fame', amongst others.

Make sure to pick up and support this unique and exiting voice in the world of basketball. [ Continue reading ]

Grey Cobalt II

We recently discovered the stunning 'Grey Cobalt II' series by the Finnish photographer and visual artist Felicia Honkasalo, while browsing the greatly inspirational online archive of Aint–Bad, which is an extraordinary source for some of the most interesting photography being produced today. In recent years Honkasalo has been refocussing, both in her most recent Master's studies and the work she has been creating, beyond traditional photography into a broader visual arts direction, yet the more classical photographic series that was produced (and shared by Aint–Bad) at the end of 2014 focusses on objects, documents and photographs inherited from her late grandfather. It also already shows he free approach in experimentation with the still images, juxtaposing different genres of photography to create a narrative that both shows an interesting composition of different aesthetics and evokes an emotional reaction and the questions of what lays behind the depicted. Having never known her grandfather, she uses the narrative of remembrance to reconstruct him through his world that has ceased to exist — portraying rock matter, technical drawings of blast furnaces, and an encyclopedia worth of books on metals and mining, which together symbolizing a man and his world, that she never really knew, but inherently connected to her by blood. We are really inspired by both her aesthetic choices and the emotional narrative that transcends the imagery: incredible! [ Continue reading ]

The Travel Almanac 11

Three weeks ago it was that time of the year again for a beautiful new issue by our friends of The Travel Almanac from Berlin, who presented already their 11th issue, for the first time featuring an all-female cast. The new issue’s cover stars are Isabelle Huppert, shot at the legendary Les Bains in Paris by Heji Shin, and Kacy Hill, shot in Los Angeles by Jenny Hueston. The actrice extraordinaire recounts French radicalism in the 60s and explains Continental approaches to acting. While the American songwriter and model describes the travel mindset of Middle Americans. In their own words: "in a time when interconnectedness is being disavowed and borders feel more pressing, travel is emerging as an ever more crucial and powerful subject matter. In the last five years The Travel Almanac has explored perspectives, places, and objects that evoke telling atmospheres and feelings" — with its latest issue it continues to do exactly this, forming an elegant and important voice in todays world, which we feel (and hope) will continue to be relevant long after the just presented new issue. [ Continue reading ]

Anama

In times of visual abundance, the photography of Petros Koublis still has a quality that more and more seems to disappear in the discipline — it evokes a mythical, almost otherworldly feeling through the immaculate depictions of divine landscapes, as he likes to call it himself. Koublis' latest series named 'Anama' took the photographer to the Greek island of Tinos. Positioned in the heart of the Aegean sea, the island is famous for its strong winds, immortalized since ancient times through the myths about long forgotten legends, among which is Aeolus, the god of winds, who was said to have his palace inside the clouds that embrace the summit of its highest mountain.

The project was initiated by Athens-based Talc Design Studio and it was commissioned by a local group of entrepreneurs. The idea was to project the unseen part of an island more famous as a religion center, with thousands of pilgrims visiting every year the shrine that hosts the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary. From the rough, weather beaten northern part of the island, to the milder south, the landscape opens a door towards an emotional interpretation of its form, in terms of a constant metamorphosis that started with the first awakening of consciousness of the first settlers of the island, thousands of years ago, and it continuous to this day through the eyes of Koublis, who caught the magical place immaculately, honoring all the inherent mythology in a perfect visual translation.  [ Continue reading ]

Mawooshen: Life and Landscape
of the Maritime Archaic

Last month, American photographer Jonathan Levitt, together with Los Angeles-based publisher Snail Press, released a new beautiful printed gem named 'Mawooshen: Life and Landscape of the Maritime Archaic', featuring over 100 carefully selected film photographs taken over the last 10 years. The name of the book refers all the way back to 1605, when British Captain George Waymouth explored what we now know as Midcoast Maine, in an expedition that included a certain gentleman named James Rosier, who wrote a detailed account that was published in England. During this exploration Waymouth and his men kidnapped five Natives and took them to England. The captives reportedly called their homeland Mawooshen. With his book, inspired by Paleolithic animism, western natural history, and shadow archaeology, Levitt creates and alter-world, named after the original native moniker of the lands, through deeply fascinating photographs of geography, plant and animal life, people, and built objects. All of the images are unstaged, analog, and accompanied by fragments of description. The photographs are arranged according to the seasons in which they were taken and span three cycles. The effect is cumulative and modal like a chant. By telling the story of 'Mawooshen' cyclically and ending with the ellipsis of a third spring, Levitt’s cosmology pushes against the linear, eschatological myth of western culture. [ Continue reading ]

Sophie Tajan

After last weekend's highly anticipated (finally!) launch of Amsterdam-based perfume house Abel's new five piece vita odor collection and the accompanying official presentation of the redefined strategy, repositioning of the brand and completely restyled identity, which we worked on over the course of the last twelve months (everything on that later this week) — we first want to shed some well deserved light on the very talented and very lovely Paris-based Sophie Tajan, who was responsible for the photography in the project.

We first encountered her work while researching what direction the visual language for Abel should move towards, in order to distinctively communicate on more than one level what the 100% natural fragrances stand for. The fit with Tajan's artistic vision felt instantly perfect. With a portfolio consisting of part immaculate still life, part abstract documentary and part fashion photography: Tajan succeeds in all three areas. She creates captivating photographs throughout, photographing in natural light, creating imagery in a soft muted color palette and exciting shades of black, gray and white. Particularly her still life experimentations with light, distortions and reflections grabbed our attention and made her the undisputed perfect collaborator for what were trying to create. Looking back today, we can only conclude how happy we are with the outcome and look forward to see what's next for the greatly talented Sophie.

See all of Sophie's work for Abel on their new website. [ Continue reading ]

Index 2006 — 2016

We have been following the highly talented Antwerp-based photographer Frederik Vercruysse from the moment we discovered his collaborations with fellow photographer Filip Dujardin some years ago. In recent years Vercruysse worked on a broad scale of projects, ranging from commissions for brands and magazines, next to free projects of which his 'Tempo Polveroso', shot in the marble quarries outside of Villa Lena, still is a big favorite of ours.

Last week marked another important milestone in the career of the Belgian: for the very first time ever, presenting a collection of some of his best photography in a printed publication, produced together with publisher Luster. Named 'Index 2006-2016' the elegantly designed book includes architecture and interior design photos, as well as his signature captivating clean cut still lifes, compositions and landscape photography — all fresh, graphic images bathed in a soft light, showing his extraordinary eye for details. The two main fascinations behind the world he produces; graphics and composition, are omnipresent in his portfolio. The curation of the works presented in the new book pre-eminently show how controlled Vercruysse works: always taking the time to carefully arrange and rearrange, until he has found the most balanced composition — resulting in immaculately defined images of the highest aesthetic standard. [ Continue reading ]

Ko-Ta Shouji

We recently discovered the beautiful photographic work of Tokyo-based Ko-Ta Shouji, that within its analogue 'snapshot' genre shows an inspirational marriage of the explorations of technical experiment with a captivating, emotional contemporary feel. Practically all of his images are taken on film, mostly characterized by that mentioned snapshot aesthetic: working with unorthodox, free floating frames, often full of joyful young energy, having a colorful metropolitan feel. Beyond catching his subject in, what feels to us as, the right moments, Shouji subsequently masterfully adds second and third layers to his imagery through light leaks, double exposures and blurred spots, infusing an ambiguous element of mystery that runs as a red threat through his whole portfolio — whether he shoots models in an editorial for a leading fashion magazine, his beautiful portrait series named 'gosees'; catching young models as free as they are right after what the title suggests, but also in his 'Untitled' series, being his most abstract body of work, portraying the world around us as a beautifully blurred place that haunts its spectator, built up layer after layer out of washed out colors and floating movement.

Having had a history as a stylist before turning to photography, Shouji clearly knows his way around catching and portraying a zeitgeist, without a doubt having been inspired by the photographic aesthetic that came to life in the communication of European fashion houses around the turn of the century, for instance through the creative endeavors of Martin Margiela joining forces with Mark Borthwick and Helmut Lang opening up new chapters in the work of Jurgen Teller. [ Continue reading ]

Material Turn

In a collaboration between Jordi Carles at ...,staat, Pol Pérez' and Josep Román's Barcelona-based design studio Affaire and Baumeister Jung: the beautiful book 'Material Turn' came to life. In it, the photographer Paul Jung and fashion designer Melitta Baumeister —who work on shared multidisciplinary creative projects as Baumeister Jung— hybridize their creative visions to become one, solidifying a moment in time — as beautiful volume-garments are casted out of an otherwise fixed material ànd by capturing the act of wearing it. Through exploration of these areas, the book portrays the relationships that exist between the two bodies, and the way touch and sight may alter the reader’s perception of an object’s qualities.

For 'Material Turn' a number of garments were specifically designed by Baumeister, who generally works with industrial techniques and materials, this time made solely out of three materials: deep black velvet bonded to foam; padded black vinyl; and finally padded white tyvek. In the words of Pérez; the use of these materials helps instill certain preconceptions in the reader’s mind: "black, especially light-absorbing materials, look naturally heavier. At first, the acting that is asked of the model helps reinforce these assumptions: in the first pages, we see her more relaxed and upright when wearing tyvek, whereas velvet dresses are shown as she sits, slouched on a chair, seemingly defeated by its weight."

This behavior slowly fades as the book progresses, dispelling the initial preconceptions — resulting in a captivating proces to be observed throughout the pages of the elegantly designed book, bringing together the talents of Baumeister, Jung, Carles and Pérez & Román into this highly appealing new publication. [ Continue reading ]

The Western Lands

Justin Clifford Rhody

It's been a while (a year maybe) since we first encountered the ongoing photographic essay named 'The Western Lands' by American photographer Justin Clifford Rhody, but it never really left us since that moment. The Michigan-born, Oakland-based artist, who predominantly shoots on film, started the series in 2012 and one of the reasons for moving to the West Coast was to continue exploring the Southwest of America from his new home, being within a day’s drive of Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and parts of New Mexico. Through a friend, the photographer was even offered to built a cabin in Northern New Mexico, which he has been using as the pivot point to keep expanding his photographic study, while immersing himself both physically and mentally in the desert. In his own words; it was the staggering quality of light and the physical expansiveness of the American West —"brutally unforgiving and indifferent to one’s needs, yet this seems to only inflame our desire to go further and deeper within the interior"— that inspired him to start and grasp intrinsic elements of it in his captions. And that intrinsic passion seems to burn in him today as it did in 2012.

It is extraordinary how Rhody finds frames that are nothing short of iconic —reminding of his idol William Eggleston, although being more fixed— in an utmost beautiful sun-kissed color palette, succeeding marvelously in communicating (his?) deep romantic feelings for this unique area combined with the melancholia that belongs to finding oneself at a dead end. Beauty and sadness in one. The photographer is clearly at awe, but can't help himself, to see that this magical place named the American West has entered a chapter with the times of glory laying behind us.

We can only hope for more observations by Justin Clifford Rhody of the American West, as through his lens it is a place that continues to deeply move us like no other... [ Continue reading ]

Strange Things Happen For A Reason

When in New York City tonight, make sure to drop by Printed Matter at 18:00 as the very talented Paris-born and New York-based photographer Clément Pascal will present his self-published book 'Strange Things Happen for a Reason' (made in collaboration with artist Edouard Nardon) to the world. Pascal is known for his exquisite intuition to catch the most interesting intimate moments between a photographer and his subject, resulting in a documentary-style photography, which he has been producing in a diverse field of assignments and series, ranging from portraits, fashion-photography and free work — of which the new book is a beautiful example. With a clear signature running through all of his work, the images the photographer creates in natural light are always delicate and intimate, whether it's a (gangster) rapper or, for instance, an artist on the other side of the lens: he seems to always succeed in creating the perfect playing field for his vision to blossom with all of them. Key in this, as stated by himself; is the fact that preparation and staging the imagery could lead to the absence or loss of ‘the opportune moment’ that defines his work. Anticipation leads his intuitive eye and lends suspense or a lack thereof for his images to arrive in the moment.

'Strange Things Happen for a Reason' defines that constant experimentation with photography. Much of the images included in this book point a finger to the context of the happenstance, a common arc in his work. The book serves as a modern-day instruction to forever entertain the appreciation of the unknown. The first quote in the book says it all:
Lose yourself once in a lifetime for God’s sake. Stop seeing your friends, you need a break. You need something new. Take a risk for God’s sake. [ Continue reading ]

Bill Henson

Australian artist Bill Henson is the kind of maker that doesn't need any introduction and has been among our favorite photographers for more than a decade. He is one of those artists whose talent you almost take for granted as he's been around (and is regularly, often-times badly, mimicked) for so many years. Where instead you should always try to push yourself to take a minute and search for the feeling you once felt in the first, almost scary, encounters with his dark and brooding imagery — which he continuously has been producing over years, still living his mantra that he's only as good as his last picture.
Finding this insightful interview by ASX from 2015 by chance, caused one of those above mentioned moments, in which it occurred to us once more how unique and captivating Henson's artistic vision is. Without losing any of its relevance over the course of two decades, his masterful imagery, reminding of the work of a Flemish Renaissance painters, balances a deep shrouded darkness with piercingly enlightened, almost translucent corpse-like figures and objects. His photographs seem to stem from an interzone between day and night, nature and human civilization. His vision of the world around us is mysterious and cryptic and feels more relevant then ever in these confusing and ambiguous times we live in.
In the interview from last year, Henson talks about the theoretical and philosophical motivations behind his imagery, explains the creative workflow that's forced upon you when shooting analogue and confesses to have never shot a digital photograph with a camera(!) But more than anything it should stimulate to take a moment and another long and hard look at the mesmerizing work of one of the most interesting imagemakers of our time. [ Continue reading ]

Dystopian Sequence

Last year we discovered the work of Athens-based photographer Alexis Vasilikos, who next to uniquely capturing the world around him co-edits the incredible Phases Magazine, which is one of the most interesting destinations on the internet to discover new cutting edge and thought-provoking photographic projects stemming from all over the world. His work for Phases also clearly has set a rather ambitious bar for the work Vasilikos produces himself, as he has been creating series after series in a relentless pace only in the year or so that we had him on our radar (with his archive proof that he has been doing this for way longer than only the last 12 months). His latest series is another raw diamond, which we feel is some of the most interesting compositions of subversive reflections on society captured through a camera, we have encountered in quite a while.

Named 'Dystopian Sequence', in his latest output Vasilikos presents a series of images about love in the times of choleric capitalism. The initial inspiration came from the economic crisis in his country of birth Greece and the politics that are implemented by the IMF and the Eurogroup in the deficit countries of the South. It resulted in a highly diverse raw series, both in color and black and white, touching both beauty and a sense of discomfort, forming a narrative of melancholia and dispair, without ever sinking too deep into the darkness as there always will be hope — in our eyes remarkably represented by the two showering females, totally at ease in their vulnerability and with each other, piercingly caught by Vasilikos. [ Continue reading ]

Statues

Henrik Strömberg presented by Grundemark Nilsson Gallery

Next to the beautiful 'Invisible Machinery' series by Japanese photographer Toru Ukai, we had one undisputed favorite series of work on display during last weekend's Unseen Photo Fair: the incredible 'Statues' by Swedish born and Berlin-based Henrik Strömberg. In all the images of the photographic artist one encounters the world, remote, removed, almost as if disappeared. Places become difficult to locate, plunged into darkness, half empty rooms, left-behinds; and in the case of the series as seen in Amsterdam deformed statues. In his series 'Statues', which was one of the two series on display in Amsterdam, he took his vision to the iconic shapes of ancient sculptures, deforming them to a new austere composition, from which results this certain inward-looking nature, a deep and universal self-reflection. His view penetrates the invisible, seizes it and gives it a shape. A connection is created between the inside and the outside, the true essence of things and the mere sense of things — resulting in a new shape and aesthetic that both attracts and repels, but never fails to captivate.  [ Continue reading ]

Invisible Machinery

IBASHO Gallery presents the work of Toru Ukai at Unseen Photo Fair 2016

Tomorrow the 2016 edition of the Unseen Photo Fair will open its doors for the public at the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam and it promises to be another celebration of photography, with work from all over the globe having found its way to the Dutch capital again. Although we weren't blown away by what saw in the former two editions, there will be always (we hope) those hidden gems to be discovered amidst the more repetitive imagery on display. Returning Antwerp-based gallery IBASHO is one of the participants we really appreciate.

Last year the gallery was a newcomer on Unseen (after they had just started their operation on the edge of the Antwerp-South area) and this year it brings a debuting photographer to Amsterdam, which we feel is one of those few great new talents to be discovered. With its focus on contemporary Japanese photography, during their first presence at Unseen Photo Fair IBASHO presented, amongst others, the iconic 'Tokyo Parrots' by the great Yoshinori Muzutani in Amsterdam, this time around it introduces the incredible series 'Invisible Machinery' by the very talented Toru Ukai. The Tokyo-based photographer is interested in the hidden and invisible structure in our modern society, which he has given the moniker invisible machinery, portrayed in his ongoing series to be seen at Unseen. Ukai observes the structure in the social systems, the law and the architecture, but also in the behavior of people; gestures and figures — captured in sharp and cold tones, with a distinct digital feel, proving to be a perfect fit for the science fiction-like arena which is urban Japan. Having such an interesting signature, perfectly fitting the narrative of his unique perspective on the world around him, makes us eagerly look forward where Ukai will take his beautiful photography in the years to come..

When visiting Unseen Photo Fair in the coming days, make sure to not skip IBASHO's booth and enjoy the work by the incredible new talent! [ Continue reading ]

On The Periphery

After (seemingly) slowly fading away over the course of this month, Summer has found its way back to The Netherlands again in the last few days. With the temperature back at around 30°C, it feels like the perfect time to share another very inspirational (sun blazing!) ongoing photographic series named 'On The Periphery' by Sinziana Velicescu, which we originally discovered a while ago, but came back to our attention when a new selection was on display at AIA|LA gallery in July. The very talented Los Angeles-based photographer has made a name for herself in the last five years, soon after graduating from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor in Comparative Literature and Film, with her steady high quality output being picked up worldwide ever since — both in exhibitions and publications. Throughout her entire catalogue there is a clear signature to be observed; working predominantly in natural (sun)light, always finding those colorful abstract crops in the seemingly ordinary to create a captivating image, all captured directly in the world around her (oftenly Los Angeles, as the case with 'On The Periphery').

In a time in which 'Instagram-friendly' photography (which Velicescu's work clearly is: make sure to follow here) sometimes gets confused with 'made for Instagram', the genre one could categorize her work in might be de facto an ever-growing field with too much (just our humble opinion) mediocre imagery with no real substance beyond the depiction — Velicescu proves with every series that she truly is part of the highly talented periphery of photographers, never failing to succeed in finding those fragmentations of the ordinary that both please the eye and evoke the question what narrative lays underneath that single frame.

We can't wait for more observations from Velicescu's own private Los Angeles... [ Continue reading ]

Shore Leave

In April of this year cultural anthropologist and graphic design historian Jim Heimann, together with his regular collaborator; editor and archivist Ryan Mungia, presented one of our favorite printed projects which were released in 2016. The incredible 'Shore Leave' is the first photobook to capture Honolulu during the Second World War through a remarkably curated collection of vintage photographs, a lot of them found in personal scrapbooks of veterans, which were collected by Heimann over years and now made public through Mungia's Boyo Press.

It portrays the thousands of US sailors bound for the Pacific during the early 1940's, in a period when the Hawaiian Islands were the staging ground for an unknown fate. Their perception of Honolulu as a tropical paradise quickly deflated upon their arrival. The anticipation of a moonlit Diamond Head, available hula girls and free-flowing and affordable rum quickly materialized into crowded streets, beaches cordoned off with barbed wire and endless lines to nowhere. Still, as with many ports of call, diversions were plentiful, and set against the warm trade winds, sailors took advantage of them on their last stop to hell. A totally unique place and time, which shows throughout the images selected by Mungia and Heimann.

Binding all these insightful photographs together in the book creates a truly unique insight, elegantly designed moreover, 'Shore Leave' is one of the most captivating books we have discovered this year.
It is a one-of-a-kind visual document of a port that, for many sailors who passed through, was their initiation into manhood. [ Continue reading ]